Julia: Jessie released her first book, At What Cost, this year from Astrea Press. Although not in the Christian genre, her book was published in the young adult genre and covers the theme of abortion from a Christian worldview perspective.
You might think that being a published author, I would consider writing my strength, but in reality, writing is my weak point. Honestly, I stink at the drafting part. Editing. Now there’s my strength.
When I write, I have to allow myself some room to write crap. My fellow authors and I like to call it ‘word vomit’. Just let whatever comes out, come out without worry of grammar, dialogue, character development or the like. Now that doesn’t mean I totally ignore those things as I write, but I can’t let plotting get in the way of my story. I basically have my story plotted before I begin, so I know where I want to go with it, but it’s the drive to the end that’s difficult. I get stuck up on the rocks and bumps that are word choice and imagery. So as often as possible, I skip over them…at first. Get to the end—that first rough draft—then I can go back and make the story my baby.
My process looks something like this: Word vomit a draft. This takes me about six to ten months. I hate that I write slowly, but with kids and house and life, I can’t devote as much time to the computer as I’d like. Once I get my first draft, which usually tops out at around fifty thousand words, I move to my favorite part: the editing. I say ‘editing’ but what I mean is the process of both editing and revising. I head back to the beginning and start reading. As I read, I expand, work on that imagery, add a character description or a new line of dialogue. If I happen to see some poor grammar, I fix it. If there’s a plot problem, I revise it as early as I can spot it. It’s a lot easier to do this sort of thing in the first draft or two. There’s less to change later on in the manuscript that way. Once I make it to the end of my draft, I’ve probably added a few thousand words or so. Then, I start again. And repeat. Again and again. Until I’m satisfied with the story. After about ten to fifteen drafts by me, I send it to a beta reader or two and wait for feedback. Then I revise again. Another three to five times until it’s perfect…absolutely perfect—at least until an editor finds more mistakes. J
Believe it or not, this part is fun for me. It’s the challenge of finding that perfect word that gets me excited. It’s overcoming the difficulty of creating a believable and interesting character. But I can’t do any of that until I have that first, horrible draft. So, I must leave you all now to head back to my work in progress and get to the end of that pile of word vomit.