Okay, folks, I’m gonna go out on a limb here. (Remember the neuroticism post from Monday? Just thought I’d add another thought to the rumination stew, LOL!)
I’m gonna share with you a before and after of my most recent WIP. Yup. I’m gonna do it.
So, here’s what my first draft, first paragraphs looked like, a la NaNoWriMo 2009:
“Nickie. It’s your turn.” Mom extended her arm out to me and smiled.
My fingers brushed against hers as I accepted the burning candle she held. I gripped the plastic holder tight to keep it from tipping. Even though it was ten degrees outside, the last thing I wanted was to get hot wax on my skin.
I stared into the small, yellow flame. The pressure of Mom’s hopeful stare dulled my thoughts. How was I supposed to say something profound?
Well, I’m gonna be brave enough to say, meh, not bad. But yeah, it’s not terribly good either.
- I opened with dialogue. Okay, it’s not the faux pas of all faux pas, but it could be better.
- There’s a lot of redundancy here. Ex. Extended, out. Ex. Burning candle, hot wax, small yellow flame–okay, I got, there’s a fire. Hot. MOVE. ON.
- I used 81 words to pass a candle between two characters. Geesh.
- This gives the impression “nothing” happened! Grrr.
- OMG, even my bullet points are redundant, LOL!
Fast forward five months, and here’s the latest opening paragraphs:
Tires squealed. A horn blared.
Each ghastly sound broke through my eardrums in rapid succession. But not in time for me to do anything about it.
The luxury sedan hurtled toward me. Swerved. Fishtailed. Maintained its collision course.
My hands flew to my face. Adrenaline surged though my body, sending my heart into an impossible rhythm and rooting my feet to the ground.
I closed my eyes and waited for metal to snap sinew and bone.
Air left my lungs at the impact. Pain wracked my body. I wanted to breathe in cool oxygen. But a heavy weight pressed me into the asphalt.
In just over 100 words, I’ve conveyed a lot of action. I’ve shared what the MC felt. The reaction of her body. Showed rather than told. AND, the writing is tighter.
I’m not saying this is the best thing ever, but I wanted to share with you what I’ve learned over the past months with the help of some keen and knowledgeable beta readers. Comparing these versions helps me see where I’ve been and how far I’ve come. I have a long way to go, but I’m still walking.
Tell me, if you compared your first draft to your current one, what differences would you see? What have you learned so far on your writerly journey?