So I’ve promised on several occasions that I would post the rough draft of the first chapter of my second book, THE AWESOME GIRL’S GUIDE TO DATING EXTRAORDINARY MEN. When I made this promise, I was floating in a cloud of hopeful writing theory. Why not show people how the sausage is made? I thought. Many writers talk about their process in such ephemeral way, I thought, why not show readers how a first chapter goes from something very rough to something that you might actually be willing to share with another human being. At least that’s how I thought about it when I was feeling all fanciful and up-with-writing.
But some kind of switch flipped on Monday, and when I typed in the words “come back on Wednesday, when I’ll be posting the rough draft first chapter of THE AWESOME GIRL’S GUIDE TO DATING EXTRAORDINARY MEN” it felt like I was typing “come back on Wednesday, when I will pose naked in front of you without the benefit of lighting or photoshop.”
Here’s the thing about Photoshop. Certain people are always complaining about overly Photoshopped magazine ads and covers, but you know what they don’t complain about? All the little stuff that also gets photoshopped, stuff most folks don’t even notice. For example, my alumnae magazine recently did a feature interview with Gloria Steinem — the current picture of her that they used for the article was probably Photoshopped. Most author photos, including my own — subtlety Photoshopped.
So why oh why, I asked myself, would I agree to show my work without the benefit of editing, lighting, or even a spot of makeup? I tried to figure out how to get out of this not thoroughly thought-out promise. I feared that people would judge my writing and therefore me. I felt a powerful urge not to keep my promise, just to write something else in this spot and then carry on like I had never made the original promise in the first place.
Then I said, “Ah, eff it. My name is Ernessa, and I do what I want.” So below find the (very) rough draft first chapter for my second book THE AWESOME GIRL’S GUIDE TO DATING EXTRAORDINARY MEN.
I’ll start my rewriting process in September and will post the next draft of the chapter and then the draft after that and the draft after that, until it’s ready to go off to the publisher. I’ll try to keep on posting drafts after that, but sometimes the right to publish one’s own work gets a little wiggy once the publisher gets involved, so no promises … accept for the original one, which I’m keeping despite all the abuse my writing demons are screaming at me right now.
Here’s a few things you should know before reading this chapter
1. If you haven’t read 32 CANDLES yet, DO NOT READ THIS CHAPTER. There are tons of spoilers, and you will be sad that you didn’t read 32 first.
2. Characters’ names are subject to change.
3. Characters’ situations, jobs, and philosophies are subject to change.
4. Okay, really EVERYTHING is subject to change. That’s why it’s a rough draft.
5. The book has a different structure. Every chapter is one day in a month, and the book takes place over the course of two years.
Other than that, happy reading. I’d like to say tell me what you think, but my poor little heart couldn’t take any negative comments about my buck naked rough draft, so I’m just going to thank you for reading and leave it at that.
Rough Draft Sketch Credit: kxp130 (click on pic to see the rest of her or his drafts!)