Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Thrashed Draft

If you're a regular visitor to this blog you know that I'm working on the 15th Sammy Keyes book and that it will feature a 'kinda loser guy,' who, at last mention here, didn't have a name.
Well, he does now. His name is Justice Jack, and he absolutely cracks me up. I'm not going to give any more details about him here, but it struck me as I was ripping the fourth rewrite of Chapter 5 in half that what I'd just torn up demonstrated more about writing that I could possibly explain.

So I taped it back together and scanned it in, and for any of you aspiring writers, I think it serves as a great illustration of how you're just not done until you're done...and that may take a lot of doing.

After my third pass through this chapter, I thought it was in really good shape. So, just to feel good about my new chapter, I thought I'd read through it one more time. And look! I butchered it. Again!
The shocking thing is that this is very much what the page looked like after my first rewrite. And my second. And the third!

How can that be?

It just is. It's what makes a book readable.

Well, that page isn't readable--it's a mess! But this is how it's done. Or, at least, this is how I work.

A couple of things if you actually look at the scan:
1) The header says "Cult of Justice Jack" -- that's just the working title. It won't be Cult. I'm not sure what it will be yet, so that's just a place holder word for now.
2) You'll see that much of what is scribbled on this page has to do with weaving in the mention of a college fund. One little (seemingly inconsequential) idea can really mess up a page!

Hope you enjoyed a peek at the process (or, at least, my process). See you next week!


Ashlee said...

I love that you think that looks "thrashed" - that's the neatest "thrashed" thing I've ever seen.

p.s. I love your handwriting!

Alexa said...

Yay, kinda loser guy has a name!

And it doesn't seem very thrashed to me. It's just a part of the writing process.

See ya next post! -Alex

Cave said...

Wow, I realized after zooming into the page, I can make it. This is enough nourishment for me and probably many other readers to endure the remaining of the journey before book-14 comes out.For a moment there, I almost would have had to start reading the Twilight Series-Joking.These words on this thin sheet of paper is like the banana,PBJ, and water from a hose Sammy Keyes gave that hostage trapped in a home in Sammy Keyes and the Search for Snake Eyes. Except you are Sammy?The banana is really this page from the book? The readers are really a zombie that was killed over a thousand years ago in Rome? Or are we the hostage since there is a glimmer of hope for her at the end?
-Thanks for the page

katarinandersson said...

Haha, that thrashed draft is nothing compared to my essay about King Lear. When I got it back I saw that my teacher had scribbled all over my essay. She has even scribbled across the text. And I can't really read her handwriting, which is less good because she expects me to hand it in again when I have corrected it according to her notes. But I'll make it work, somehow.
It was nice to read a page from SK 15, I'm sure that your book will turn out great, they always do :)

Tim said...

Yay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!( a glimmer into sammy 15 ) love it!!!!

kirby said...

Wendelin, as an apiring writer who's trying to juggle working full-time and balancing writing, seeing this sample page from your rewrite is all the inspiration I need to get my juices flowing! I can make it and I just need to keep trucking on just like you! You may not think it's a lot, but everytime I hear you talk about the writing process, I am inspired. Thank you!

Jinnyd said...

I love your handwriting! I wish mine was that neat... Well, it seems like the writing process (especially the revising part) is much more effort than it looks! Thanks for posting this!

Anonymous said...

I love your books(: My sister got me hooked, I said I wont like them,but she insisted,Now I can VERY excited to read the 15th! As soon as I finished the first books I read (snake eyes) I ran to the computer,got to the library website, and I ordered all of them, when they arrived I read them in order, In less than a week! I was hooked!
Thank you so much Sammy Keyes is my Favorite series, and i've read alot!


Wendelin Van Draanen said...

Thank you everybody for the comments. I loved them! Had to laugh at katarinaandersson's comment--I used to HATE that! Especially when they scribble "write legibly" and you can't read it! Ha! But it does take time and effort to make all those comments and you just have to tell yourself that they're trying to help you, not torture you.