I’d like to welcome Tiffany Allee to Reading Reality today. Tiffany is the creator, or perhaps I should say perpetrator, of the new urban fantasy/paranormal romance series, The Files of the Otherworlder Enforcement Agency. She’s here as part of the tour to promote the second story extracted from those Files, Succubus Lost. She’s going to tell us a bit about the process that all writers dread, that process of revising the scintillating and marvelous words that tripping out of our heads and onto our keyboards.
About those flying pigs…read her guest post, and you’ll understand.
When I dreamed of being a writer—long before I ever took the steps to actually write with the goal of publication in mind—I envisioned many things. Words pouring from me that were perfection as soon as they hit the page. Sparkling characters. Movie deals. Stories that would make readers weep. A tweed jacket and a pipe. My name splashed on the headlines—in a good, non-scandalous way, of course.
I didn’t have a clue.
And the biggest thing I was wrong about was the first one. That I would write perfect first drafts. Of course, I don’t have any movie deals or tweed jackets yet, and I haven’t made anyone cry, but these are at least possibilities. Someday. The brilliant first draft on the other hand is as likely as pigs flying.
That’s not to say that some writers aren’t able to do this. But for most of us, it’s unrealistic. How many drafts do I go through to get from my first to the one that is actually published? This isn’t a question I really thought about with books before Succubus Lost. It’s the first story I had contracted before I wrote it, so I had a chance to really look at how much effort it took to get from idea to publishable draft.
I write fairly clean first drafts. Fairly. But they’re short. I tend to skip over details and descriptions. I mark spots with two Xs anytime I need to research something. I go back to those areas and do the research during the second draft, so that my speed isn’t slowed during the first. So I fill out all of these little things during the second draft. Then I read and polish and tinker for a third.
Then I send it to my critique partners, who send it back to me with wonderful advice and far too many jokes. Seriously, I can’t drink liquids while reading their comments. Another draft and round of polishes and it’s usually ready to send on to my editor.
I love my editor. She’s wonderful at what she does. And she works very hard to make sure my readers get the best I am capable of. She isn’t afraid to push me. So we go round and round. More drafts. More polishes. More fixes. And finally rounds of edits with other editors to make sure we’ve made the story sparkle. Then copy edits. Galleys. It’s exhausting.
I can never again fool myself into thinking that I will ever be able to simply toss a draft out there without revising. But it’s worth every bit of effort to feel like I’ve told the story I set out to tell.
Do you write great first drafts (like some sort of rare unicorn), or do you only find your story a few drafts in?
Tiffany, thanks so much for giving us an insight into your writing process.
And I think I’m with the flying pigs on this one. My first draft is pretty good, but it still needs some work. And an editor. I’m great at editing somebody else’s work, and terrible at editing my own. What about everyone else? Can you edit your own work, or do you need a different eye to see the flaws?
Now, about that giveaway! There’s still plenty of time to enter the tour-wide giveaway for a copy of Succubus Lost, and the Salamander pin pictured just before the Rafflecopter.