First Draft Blues…

Well… I eventually finished the first draft a couple of weeks ago but am still awaiting the warm glow of satisfaction. That said I went through two pregnancies waiting for the Great State of Blooming to occur and it never did, so possibly I am just not the sort of person who relaxes.

Possibly I am just a miserable git.

Possibly I am a Realist at heart (and if those of you who know me could, at this point, suppress any audible amusement it would be appreciated) and recognise there is still a long way to go with this book.

The manuscript is currently with the Great Osiander and I await his verdict with some anxiety. Firstly he’ll be the only person to have read the entire novel other than me. That in itself is both exciting and nerve-wracking. Exciting because an Objective Professional is going to see the whole and tell me whether it works. Nerve-wracking because an Objective Professional is going to see the whole and tell me whether it works. It’s bound to end in tears… this is clearly a friendship doomed, but hopefully a Better Novel will rise from its ashes.


On a completely different note, I saw my favourite female singer/songwriter recently – Thea Gilmore ( She was brilliant, as expected. Thea’s lyrics and music have been massively inspirational over the years – she’s incredibly dark at times, which is always going to work for me, and lyric writers are so wonderfully succinct. I have a strong belief that *all* writers can learn from this brevity.

And on yet another musical note… I’m listening, as I write this, to Johnny Cash’s cover of Hurt ( which is, I think, one of the most powerful songs ever written. The original by Nine Inch Nails ( is also sublime. I often listen to both back to back – and this, again, provides a valuable lesson for writers in how a shift in voice, style and emphasis can have a powerful impact on any text.

We are glorious manipulators! It’s probably my favourite aspect of writing – the tweaking of structure, pace, words & punctuation for deliberate effect…

… which is why I should now be happier about having a first draft to edit… and I am…

I am.

I think.


3 Replies to “First Draft Blues…”

  1. High Hopes and Reasonable Expectations! In one of my favorite books, 78 Reasons why your book may never be published and 14 Reasons why it just might, Pat Walsh says, "A writer with her expectations out of whack cannot see the benefit of encouraging feedback, because to her it's just a slap in the face. Even if she's published, she will not let herself enjoy it much because the expectations game will haunt her with visions of grander and grander success."I have a hard time feeling a sense of accomplishment after each step of the process(completed first draft -edited until it's polished -secured an agent) because I always ask myself "What's next?"

  2. Apologies for posting on a complete stranger's blog, but I landed here (by a route too circuitous to explain) and couldn't let you go on thinking that Hurt was a Johnny Cash song – it was written by Trent Reznor, of NIN, although he agrees that Johnny's version (especially coupled with the video) is now probably the definitive one.OK, got that off my chest, will go away now 🙂

  3. Ha ha… thank you for that – and don't apologise… I thought the idea of blogs was to pull in 'complete strangers'.I will amend this instant. Funnily enough I did find this out just a week or so ago too… I had thought it the other way round (Cash's song, Reznor's cover) but realise I was totally wrong.Both versions are quite beautiful and I do tend to listen to them back to back each time.Thanks!

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