Daily Archives: May 11, 2010

Ugh-ly

Yesterday I pulled out the second WIP starring my favorite pirate family.  I have a total of thirteen book ideas for my chapter book series.  Currently, I’m shopping around the first and only finished book.

I’ve never felt compelled to write a series or a trilogy or any sort of companion books in the past.  My middle grade and YA novels all stand alone. 

In part, this is because the stories have reached the end by the time I type those words on the last page.  There is no need for further commentary.  No compelling adventures left to unfold.

Yet both my chapter books could go on.  And, in the world of publishing, really should. 

Chapter books is one of the few genres where it is desirable to add subsequent stories.  Kids get hooked at just the right age to read about their same favorite characters in a wide variety of adventures. 

Junie B. Jones.  Magic Tree House.  Jigsaw Jones.  Diary of a Whimpy Kid.

Chapter books are not lucrative by anybody’s standards.  But they do serve a noble purpose for kids.  They tap into the unconditional love that kids have for their passion of the moment.  If we are lucky, that passionate moment happens to be ours.

Now, I love my first book in the “series”.  I thought I loved the second book, as well.  However, I had to laugh when I pulled out the half finished WIP for the first time in almost a year. 

It was Ugh-ly.  With a capital U.

I think I’ve forgotten how truly horrible first drafts can be.  It had more spelling errors, typos and grammar mishaps than should be legal in a WIP.  For just one second, I felt compelled to fix everything as I read.  Then I stopped myself.

Rough drafts are supposed to be ugly.  They are imperfect by nature.  Yet at the same time, they are more perfect than we can ever imagine.  For they are the culmination of our passionate moments as writers.  They hold a certain magic that can never be duplicated.

I have held back on finishing this second book because I didn’t want to waste my time writing all thirteen adventures only to find out the first book would never see the light of a bookstore. 

But, the itch to finish the second one is strong right now.  I actually added an extra 1,700 words to it last night.  Already I am looking forward to editing.  I can’t wait to turn something this Ugh-ly into something readable. 

Such is the joy of writing.

How bad are your rough drafts?  Do you cringe when you reread them?  Or, do you edit as you go?  Can you feel the magic in those first, imperfect sentences and know that something beautiful is waiting to get teased from the tangled mess?

Are you a series writer?  If so, why and what genre do you write for?