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So, I’ve started working on a new book idea! I have my characters sketched out and I have my rough outline/synopsis. I’m working on finding the voice and the style that make this story unique. I’ve been playing with this new book on and off between making edits to my agented book, THE CREATION OF HALLELUJAH CALHOUN. Now, I’m officially trying to crank out a first draft.

And I have to admit, I forgot how hard first-drafting is. It’s not just the nuts and bolts of figuring out the plot and the characters. It’s not just getting words down on the page (or screen, in my case). It’s emotionally hard, transitioning from making upper-level nitpicky edits to HALLELUJAH, which I am so proud of and feel so good about, to being back in the uncertainty of a first draft. Can I possibly create something that I love as much as HALLELUJAH? Is it okay that it’s different—different voice, different themes? And can I do this new topic justice? Did I only have one good book in me, after all?

After talking to some writer friends, I’ve confirmed that yes, pretty much everyone feels like this when starting something brand new. This mix of excitement over a shiny new idea and anxiety about not being able to pull it off. So I’ve been telling myself, over and over, that the only way out is through. I won’t know if this new book is any good until I write a cruddy first draft and dig into revisions. I can’t revise a blank page.

So, starting this week, I’m going to aim to spend at least an hour each workday adding to the word count. Pushing through the story. Figuring out who these characters truly are and how they interact with one another the best way I know how: by spending time with them. (For the record, I wish I could give myself a minimum word count to meet each day, but my freelance schedule doesn’t always allow that; it’s easier to schedule in an allotment of time and write however much comes out in that time…)

What’s this new book about? My main character is a ballet student with the wrong body type. When she doesn’t get a part she wanted in her studio’s summer production—in fact, she gets what is, in her eyes, the worst role in the show—it sends her into an emotional tailspin. She’s only ever wanted to be a ballet dancer, and her curvy body is standing in her way. (Well, her body and her overbearing mom…) When she ends up having to dance with a clumsy football player who signed up for ballet class because his coach said it might improve his scholarship potential, it’s like adding insult to injury. But what if the two of them are actually perfect partners?

And that’s all I’m going to say about that until the book is written! So much writing and tinkering to do…

Anyone else have the first-draft blues? Want to commiserate? 🙂

~Kathryn

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