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Saturday, February 9, 2008



The book I've been slaving over since October is finished! Ha! I stabbed a stake in its sad, shriveled, heart and I'm ignoring it for a month! Or until March. Whichever comes first.

It isn't a polished draft, of course, it's a horrible first draft and makes me want to scream and gouge out my eyes. I hate first drafts. But to get a final draft I need a first draft....

In high school and college I wrote papers all the time. Mammoth essays on everything from Telemachus's doorhandle (shaped like an eagle's head for those who need to know) to Karenia brevis (a type of dinoflaggelatte). And usually I only wrote one draft. At least for blue book tests and history papers there was only one draft, the K. brevis paper took me three years and 5.3 million drafts.

The thing I realize now is that I usuall did the first draft in my head. I'd write the entire paper, highlighting points and picking references, before pen ever saw paper.

I've tried that with books, it doesn't work.

I forget great lines, what I write doesn't have the same feel as what I drafted, or - far worse- I finish the book in my head and decide not to write it at all because I've seen the whole book. I've read it in a way, and I don't want to bother writing it down.

I like to think that the books that get mentally shelved, never to see the light of computer, aren't worth the bother. No one wants to spend pages reading about the art if papermaking as it relates to a poor noblewoman whose family is killed by a terrible magic storm leaving her to pick up the pieces, adopt orphans, save lives, and overthrow a corrupt government.

I see you yawning.

Don't lie. It's a dull idea. It's been done. The world and character were different but let's face it, every book has a hero. Even if you write about a villian they are the main character, people think about them, and the book revolves around them.

Books without heroes are called newspaper.

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