Thursday, August 25, 2011

How ROUGH is your rough?

If you've been around this writerly blog for any length of time, you know I have no problem admitting my flaws. (There's plentiful material for blog posts that way.)

Today I'll be talking about feet. Well, er, feet in relation to writing. Hmmm... you're asking yourself. How could she possibly relate writing to feet? Hang in there and you'll find out.

You have feet. I have hooves.

You know those commercials where they show nasty, rough feet and you throw up a little in your mouth? Those feet look like a Christmas card compared to mine. The little cracks on your feet are normal. The cracks on my feet are Grand Canyons. I wear black running socks, so my Grand Canyons are now permanently black. From May to September my feet are in one of three things: water, sand, or flip flops. They are dry as dry could be. And it gets worse.... But, don't worry, I'll spare you the nasty details.

Sometimes I hear people talk about their rough summertime feet. And when I peek at their feet, I think wow, you wouldn't know a rough foot if it kicked you in the face.

My rough is rough.

I hate them. They're embarrassing. I feel the need to triple tip a pedicurist for having to deal with me.

Now, on to writing. Every novel starts with the rough draft, but everyone's "rough" is different. Some people spend three years on a rough draft. They painstakingly craft each sentence until it is perfect before they move on. When they are finished with that first draft, they may have very little needed in the way of revisions and editing.

Other people's "rough" is so rough they would rather show their nasty feet on public television than let someone read their novel the day they type The End.

These writers know a novel has to start somewhere, so they use the creative process to forge full-steam ahead. There is none or very little re-reading during the writing period.

Most of us probably fall somewhere in between. For me, a rough draft can take from three to six months. The work required after my rough draft is completed is still quite intensive. I usually must take several (like four or five) passes at full revisions and then a couple passes at copy editing.

You know what? As long as you promise to tackle those revisions with gusto, either way is okay. Last week I watched a WriteOnCon vlog with author Beth Revis. Speaking of her best selling novel, she said that probably less than ten percent of her original novel made it into the final draft!

So, where do you fall?

Is your rough draft like the picture above: beautiful, smooth, and close to your finished project? Or is your rough draft more like my feet (which I would NEVER post a picture of): rough, rough, rough and in need of serious repair?


Chantele Sedgwick said...

My husband always lets me know how gross and dry my feet are. He loves me, I promise. Just likes to tease. ;)

I used to spend forever writing and editing as I go. But lately I've been getting the rough draft out fairly quick and have gone back to do edits after. I think I like doing this better. And I can tell my rough drafts are even getting better. I take care in the sentences I write during the rough draft and don't have AS MUCH to change in revisions and editing. I still take forever editing though. :) Does that make sense? :)

Rachael Renee Anderson said...

SO rough!!! I don't see the point in spending so much time perfecting sentences when my story isn't set in stone yet.

Rachael Renee Anderson said...

P.S. Awesome comparison. You did have me scratching my head at how you were going to compare feet to writing. Maybe I need to consult you about my current wip, oh creative one. :)

Jolene Perry said...

My first time through a scene NO ONE would know what's going on but me.

by the time I send it off, I've been over that scene somewhere between 20 and 30 times. But I now TRY to force myself to send things out earlier, because when you spend that long editing, only to realize that you need a major shift in your story, it kind of sucks :D

E.R. King said...

My first draft is rough, and I mean rough. Just like you, I would never show it to anyone! I need a couple drafts done before handing it to anyone.

Kaylee Baldwin said...

My first drafts are pretty rough. I usually have a ton of extra information that is not needed, or plot points that I started and didn't go anywhere, etc.

Melanie Stanford said...

My feet are disgustingly rough too. I just got my first pedicure of the summer yesterday (and only my second pedicure ever). It's nice to have smooth feet, if only for like a day.

And yeah, my rough drafts are ROUGH. They take so much editing.

Love the blog- you have good taste. Haha!

Jessie Humphries said...

Like a really good file or every board...I have found outlining and working on story structure helps me shave off dry skin...Errr...edits:)

Jessie Humphries said...

Like a really good file or every board...I have found outlining and working on story structure helps me shave off dry skin...Errr...edits:)

Katie Gates said...

Hi Maggie. What a delightful post this is! I look forward to reading more, and I'm so glad to have linked over here from the Campaign (I'm also in the Adult-All Genres group.)

Hmmm... I'm not sure how to assess the roughness of my drafts. I tend to edit as I go, i.e., I'll edit about 10 pages of the previous day's session before continuing. And once I've reached THE END, I probably go through the manuscript about 8-9 times.

As for my feet... I don't think they'll ever get an agent or movie rights!

Wendy Terrien said...

Now I sooooo want to see your feet, even if it is just to scare myself a little. ;)

I've been the "rewrite every sentence as I go" writer and that drives me crazy because I make so little progress. So now I rough it all the way.

Fun post!

Claire Robyns said...

My rough heels will rival yours, lol. Since I was preggies with my twins 12 yrs ago, my feet went squat and never came right. We're on holiday in Tenerife right now and I've just had a fish foot spa- put your feet in a tank and hundreds of baby fish come and nibble away at the hard skin. It was glorious.

As for writing, I write slow and edit as I go along, so my first draft is pretty much ready for one last polish, but it takes me a good 6 months to complete

love the title of your blog, btw

Lola X said...

Absolutely fantastic blog!!! Glad I found it! Love it!!!

Lola x

Francine Howarth said...


Fellow romance campaigner! ;)

Re rough draft: I've been complimented in the past for my rough drafts reading like near finished novels. I published a novella to Kindle and received a four star review, and from someone I know: who said it simply wasn't up to scratch! Every ones a critic when its not their book under scrutiny. :o


Jan Morrison said...

hey - my rough is rough. My rough is so rough that it thinks John Wayne is a wildflower, it thinks showing your feet on prime time is wussy - it would EAT your feet on prime time. And it is making me cranky but there ya go. I would've thought, that being a plotter, your rough would be smooth. Shows what I know.