My First Draft Sucks :( (No this not a working title)

First drafts aren’t supposed to be gold. They are messy and that is a good thing. You have to write a lot in order to write well. This means many messy drafts and a lot of revision before you get something even close to decent. Everyone else has to go through it too. Find other writers and commiserate with them and share encouragements. 

I just completed a full draft of my short story!

I felt really good about completing it and I knew there were issues with it but I completed 90% of the story in two days. That was quite an achievement for me. So, I decided to send it to my Alpha reader. Last night her responses began to roll in. I made the mistake of reading them. She had read and commented on half of the story and has not gotten to the rest of it yet. (so I don’t know if she thinks it is at all good or not)

Don’t stunt your creativity with criticism, learn from it instead

I did exactly what you shouldn’t do. I should have left the story alone for a few more days. Instead, I stopped myself from working on my next story. I had an idea that was pressing on my mind and not letting me sleep and instead of writing it, I looked at comments that only served to discourage me and tell me that my draft was bad. 

In reality, the storyline is good, the plot is interesting, and the theme is compelling to my target audience. Where it lacks is in the literary elements,  sophistication of prose and character development. Most importantly, I told it too much as a description rather than intertwining character, plot, and scene to create a brilliant tapestry rather than three different colored rags.

How to get yourself out of a Slump

I would be lying if I said I did not have a slump yesterday and this morning when I got up to write at 6 am. However, the best way to push yourself out of a writing slump is by brainstorming or writing something. Last night I wrote an 800-word outline for a romance novel. This morning I tried to write my first chapter and I wrote 120 words and it felt flat like a generic Romance. In my mind, it seemed wonderful and fresh. As I wrote the outline I was excited about the characters. But my inciting incident has elicited no emotion from myself and definitely wouldn’t touch the reader. So, I opened up a new document, grabbed an idea from my working idea page and started to write ideas based upon it. This story may never happen but it gets me writing something. I have a writer’s block document where I write scenes for the same reason. It doesn’t matter how you do it but writing can be a quick reset for your creativity and mental state. 

Get an Alpha reader that is Strong in things you are weak on

My Alpha reader is a very literary focused reader. She reads a lot of the “great books.” These include ancient texts as well as books like East of Eden, Pride, and Prejudice, and Shakespeare. She reads broadly and has good taste in all things literary. I focus more on Science Fiction and Fantasy (although I do read many of the great books as well). This is why she is such an asset and helpful friend to send my stories to. 

She can point out the flaws in my fantasy stories from a literary point of view. This is such a benefit because it makes my stories rounded out and clean. She tells me when my stories are juvenile and where my sentence structure is too similar for the good of the flow. A word she loves to use for my stories is “chunky.” She is wonderful at seeing things that I cannot. Get yourself a brutally honest Alpha reader but make sure that you are up to being challenged. 

Don’t think about perfection when you draft or you will never get started

Finish a piece! If this means writing a short story when you consider yourself a novelist, such as me, do it. Finishing a piece will give you confidence to work on your longer pieces and invest time in yourself and your writing (remember not to dwell on comments from your readers or don’t send your short story out right away). There are other benefits to writing short stories. You can publish them in literary magazines and then use those publications in your query letters for novels. There is no right way to write. Everyone gets there by a different path. Keep drafting, keep writing, and finish the dang project. You will get there! It will probably be messy. You will need to revise and rewrite, but at least you will be able to edit it once it is on the page. Part of the reason why first drafts are not always the cleanest is the fact that you have to force yourself to write at times and this makes the dialogue simple and the characters flat. THAT IS WHAT EDITING IS FOR. You aren’t etching your story in stone. You are most likely typing it on the computer which means it is easy to revise without having to rewrite. Write it out and then write it again but better. 

Have you ever been discouraged by a critique that you asked for? How do you get yourself out of a slump? What things do you need to look for in a reader to shore up your flaws? How do you feel about drafting?

Stay safe loves!

Please feel free to email me any questions, stories, themes, or ideas I am grateful for all your contributions.

Email me at evilholmess@gmail.com

Give me a follow on Instagram @evi.l.holmes 

Follow me on twitter @RealEvilHolmes

-Evi. L. Holmes

Creative Writing Ventures: Update

As promised, this post is going to be a brief, general overview of some outside creative writing projects that I am currently working on. If this is something you like, please let me know and I will continue to update you on my progress as I work towards various goals. 

Novels and Worldbuilding

This is, naturally, the largest project in the queue of projects that I have dreamt of. I am currently working on a series of novels that are spanning two eras with a large gap in between. I am drafting outlines for the series in the free time (I know what free time, right?). I am very excited about this project but there is much worldbuilding I must accomplish before attempting to right more than the few scenes that I currently have. I know this is very little information, but you may ask questions and I will answer them if I do not believe it will harm my prospects for publication because we would not want that.

Creative Short Stories

I have so many ideas that would work in a short story format and have contemplated posting some of them on this blog once I have completed them to a satisfactory level. If this is something you all would be interested in, please let me know. There are too many ideas to list here and besides, it is better for them to be a surprise anyway.

The Overflow and Outpouring of my Overactive Brain and Imagination: Should I give you another window into the madness of my mind?

How much of my brain do you want to be able to see? This blog only scratches the very surface of the madness that goes on daily inside of my mind. As the “first movers” of this blog, I want you guys to help shape this blog into what you believe will be beneficial to you. I would love to share more with you but it would be fun for you all to set the scale of how much I let you in on. 

What do you guys want me to do for you? 

I am ultimately here for you. I want to make this little patch of the internet a bright place for people to congregate and just think and learn and be creative. I want to make an impact on the people of this world in a positive manner and writing is one way I believed I could do so. You know what I want from this, so, now it is your turn to let me see what you want as well. 

Please feel free to email me any questions, stories, themes, or ideas I am grateful for all your contributions.

My email is evilholmess@gmail.com

My Instagram is @evi.l.holmes 

-Evi. L. Holmes