Monday, May 3, 2010

12 steps to writing your first novel

As most of you have read by now, I am oh-so-very close to finishing my third rewrite. It's there, I can see the end, but I don't like the original ending so I am now hanging in limbo, unsure how I want to proceed...

But I have to admit that in re-reading my first draft (and second) that it is absolute crap!!! I mean, not just haha, this is SO bad, but truly, horribly CRAP!!! (and I am so not exaggerating) Along with the bit of disappointment that comes with realizing this, I have to say I am also feeling a twinge of pride!

Pride?!?! Yes, pride because darn I have come a LONG way since writing those horrific words! I still love the idea of the book and I still adore my characters and I will make it happen! But really, I can't believe how far I have come in just a short year. At least I can now recognize that it wasn't any good, but I know I still need to work on the how to get it to be better. It's like a twelve steps program!

Step 1: Wow, I just had this really great idea for a book. This is going to be SO easy!

Step 2: Man, this is going great! I have 5 chapters down and my fingers are just flying off the keyboard, double checking word count every two seconds.

Step 3: HALFWAY!!!

Step 4: I am SO going to be a published author! LOOK OUT STEPHENIE MEYER!

Step 5: FINISHED!!!

Step 6: Send it to every agent you can find!

Step 7: Receive rejection letters from every single one of those agents.

Step 8: Find a writing website such as Agent Query Connect and meet lots of other aspiring writers who very nicely (Most of the time) tell you your work is not so great.

Step 9: Want to crumple up all 400 printed and reprinted pages of the first draft, maybe even stomp on them, definetly light them on fire!

Step 10: Start rewriting...and rewriting....and more rewriting.

Step 11: Get out the red pen and do lots of crossing out!!!

Step 12: Realize that this is the hardest, funnest, best thing you have done in your life!!!


  1. You're the greatest Shawna! We all have to walk that path to getting our best story down on paper. It can be tough terrain sometimes. I'm still trudging along on my journey. Glad to hear you're almost at your destination. :)

  2. Shawna,

    That is so awesome. Your twelve steps are perfect and so very true.

    I'm glad you love the process and realize just how far you've come. It can take a while to tease out the gems in our rough drafts, but in the end, it is so worth it!

  3. Nothing is more fun than writing, and nothing is less fun than coming to the conclusion that what you wrote needs to be rewritten. Congrats on being brave enough to see what needed scrapped and then rewriting. That's harder to do than people think.