Yesterday’s post made me wish for a work table. Yes, I have a desk, but it’s not a surface covered with colors and scribbles of project’s past. There’s just some scratches from where my laptop sits and the mark from that time I thought I didn’t need a coaster. Hardly telling (at least about the writing. That mark says a lot about the writer).
But I do have rough drafts.
Oh, do I have rough drafts. Actually, in the example I’m about to show, it’s that my friend had this rough draft of the first page of the first chapter I wrote for Lu eight years ago. You know how some ideas are better in theory than manifestation? That’s the deal with this one. In theory, it’s cool to share your rough drafts, especially in the spirit of NaNoWriMo. They’re evidence that everything has to start somewhere and that this somewhere might be messy, or as is the case with this rough draft, bad. It’s bad. It’s just bad, and I was tempted to:
- A) not post it. No one would know.
- B) tweak it. No one would know.
- C) say my dog wrote it. No one would know.
But I let me ego make too many decisions as it is, so here you go! Lu, Take 1!
I wish my life story was a based-on-life story. In sepia. With curls to replace the frizz and a vintage something-or-other to replace my ’85 Cutlass that burps oil. It’s not funny. The car actually suffers from car leprosy, a fatal condition that causes its parts to rot off regularly. Alas, masochistic cannibalism is also an issue. Just this morning, when I stopped for gas around 2 a.m., my shutting of the driver’s side door initiated a chain reaction that culminated in the car swallowing the driver’s side window whole.
So yes, I am to need a different ride for the based-on.
Actually, what would be even better is if my life story was an inspired-by-life story. Then, we would scrap this scene altogether. Oh, it’s pretty enough with its pink sunrise climbing over pregnant cornfields. I can just see the aerial shot capturing all this pastoral rural before slowly focusing on my car hugging the winding two-lane. As an inspired-by, the story need not cover the smell of manure already permeating the air of this hot July morning, nor the ill effects that play on my physiology from too much crying.
Bloated eyes, a stuffy nose, and plugged ears can all be airbrushed away, yet the story behind the story of this scene cannot, which is why it needs to be scrapped. Who is really interested in the tale of a 28-year-old girl running away from her hourly job and cheating ass of a boyfriend to a life of indefinite employment (arguably worse than an hourly) and residence with her family (inarguably worse than the cheating heart of a man)?
Certainly not me, but I’m stuck. Behind a truck.
For some reason, I remember my sister’s comment about this page from back then. “It’s heavy,” she said. “You normally write with a light touch, but this is forced.” She was right. The writing is uncomfortable to read because I was uncomfortable in writing it down. I’d never written fiction before, and I had an idea that I wanted to open my story with a girl leaving a place, but I didn’t want it to read romantic. Then I thought about how “inspired-by” movies sand down the harsher realities of stories. I tried to run with this metaphor, but it didn’t work. I, as the writer, needed this metaphor to understand how I would go about writing the story, but the reader didn’t.
The humor is also off. I’m a sarcastic girl, and this tone inevitably finds it way into my writing, but I didn’t know how to filter it yet. The jokes land too sharp.
My descriptive writing was even worse eight years ago. What is a pregnant cornfield? I’d like to know (or maybe not).
Parentheses are fine in blogging, not so much in fiction.
My favorite part are the last two lines. They make laugh. I wish I would have kept them in the final draft.
There’s so much more to say, but I’ll end here today. I’m sharing Take 2 tomorrow, but until then, be encouraged! A start means you started! My gut was telling me this page wasn’t great eight years ago – honestly, I wrestled with page 1 of Lu until I hit publish – but another feeling superseded it, and that was … I’d done it! I’d finally taken the time, opened a file, and written some words of a story that had burned in my heart for years. It was a huge step. Go do likewise today.