How Many Drafts Should You Write? [Video]

 

How many drafts should you write?

4. Well… it could be 4 or it could be 400. Every story is different and every writer is different, and there is no one number. You, as the creator and editor, will have to decide when you are ready to show people what you’ve got.

In this episode The Other Epic Story Vlog, I talk about my strategy for editing my novel.

The 4 Phases of Editing

  1. Structural edit
  2. Grammatical, style, and bad habits edit
  3. Feedback edit
  4. Repeat 1-3 Editing your novel is an important step.

While you can spend forever editing, at some point you need to send it out into the world for feedback.

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After Writing Your First Draft, What’s Next? [Video]

After all the blood, sweat, and tears; after writing your novel. You are now ready for smooth sailing.

Nope! Unless you are both lucky and talented — much more than me, you bastard! — you are going to suffer the trials and tribulations of life after the first draft.

After dumping all your ideas onto paper without worrying about the consequences are over, this is the part where you attempt to make it all make sense. Even if you think you were perfectly coherent while writing the first draft, I can assure you… as I assure myself every time, that what is written in the first attempt is almost laughable.

At some point, you will have to return to the draft but take a break first. You’ve just emptied your brain of all your ideas, now it’s time to let it settle. Relax. After you finish writing your first draft, take a break. Thus returning to it with a fresh new perspective.

 

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Yes, I Am Blind With a Broken Heart

 

When I was young, I asked myself a perplexing question: Which sense would I give up, if I had to give up one of my six senses?

First, I would give up my ability to see dead people.

Then I would give up my sense of smell, because I think that would be the least debilitating. Think about it. The worst part about not being able to smell stuff is that every time I go to a wine tasting, I’ll enjoy the appearance of the liquid in the glass, but then I’ll skip straight to the tastes, forgoing the part where I swill the wine to impart the aromatic elements. I would not dip my snout into the glass, because I wouldn’t be able to smell anyways.

They say when it comes to tasting, smell is the most important part, but hey, I can just fake it. I can tell people I taste [insert obscure descriptor] and lie and nobody will know. That’s the magic of smelling. Nobody knows what I smell, unless I tell them. That’s why they call it the nose… because nobody knows your nose.

But alas, I still have my sense of smell. To my misfortune, it is my sense of sight that has forsaken me. It didn’t happen gradually over the course of a lifetime of seeing. It wasn’t as though there was a dimmer switch. No, with a flick, now I am blind.

 

blind

We rely on our sight a lot. Think about it. Right now you are using your sight. And you know what, you are taking it for granted. Try closing your eyes right now and continue reading this sentence. You can’t do it. You can’t fake it like you can for smell.

Irony. I kind of understand it and I think I’m an example of irony — and arrogance, but we won’t get into that right now.

See, before I went blind, it was my dream to be amongst the athletic best. I wanted to run, skate, and dipsy-doodle with them on the field, court, and monkey cage. I wanted to be a world class referee.

I believe every kid wants to grow up to be an authoritative figure. You know, to power trip every once in a while. That’s a good feeling. Not necessary to get what you want but to refrain others from getting what they want. It makes me feel like I exist. It makes me feel like a big man. And at 5’7” 140 pounds, I am average, if not under average depending on the sample size you are comparing me to.

So here’s a story: I remember as a child, my parents would take me to the store. We would get lunch and they will always buy me the kid-sized meal. “I’m not a kid anymore,” I would shout at them, adorably. “I want a large!”

They calmly explained to me that if I can finish my kid-sized meal then they will happily buy me another kid-sized meal if I’m still hungry. I thought that was bullshit. I didn’t want two kid-sized meal. I wanted to be treated with respect for who I was. I mean, I wasn’t a “kid” anymore. Sure, I wasn’t making any money, didn’t have to pay taxes, couldn’t be trialed as an adult if I was to commit a heinous crime, but still, in the eyes of me, a soon to be blind person, I was an adult.

So, I did what any self-motivated kid would do. Yep, I didn’t ask for permission to throw a tantrum, I just did it. In front of all the people at the food court.

Did I get the large size? No. Did I ruin my parent’s day at the mall? Yes.

That’s when I knew, I had an extraordinary gift. I’m going to be a referee when I grow up. Think about it. Yes, true you don’t know me that well, but it really is the culmination of all my skills. I’m handsome, athletic, charismatic, dashing, large penis having, and at an angle, kind of look like Daniel Craig coming out of the ocean. I was destined to be a sport guy referee of some sort.  

At least, that was the dream. The thing they don’t tell you is that you can’t be a referee if you are blind. You sometimes watch a sporting event on television and you see that the referee made a ridiculous call or completely missed a penalty or whatever happens to cause or not cause an infraction in a sport game. It’s not uncommon for you to shout out that cliche remark, because you are so unoriginal: “What the hell, ref?! Are you blind?”

Turns out, the answer will always be “no.”

I know this now.

I went blind in my last year of high school, where I was reffing the regional championship game. Points were scored, sweat did dripped, and I went blind. Although it was my eyes that suffer the brunt of the poky fingers, it was my heart that was broken.

It was horrific. One moment I was brushing some eye booger from my optical glands, the next moment I have blinded myself. I was carrying the sword that slayed me. I don’t remember screaming, but apparently I was. Screaming like I did when my parents wouldn’t get me a large? Nobody can be for sure.

Rehabilitation took months. At the end of it all, I was a shattered version of the man I used to be. Picture me: sitting on a wheelchair placed in front of a window. What’s the weather outside? I couldn’t tell you. Why was I in a wheelchair? I don’t know, hospital sometimes have wheelchairs left in the hallway, so I guess I was just lead to one and placed there. Sitting, I decided I’m not going to give up on my dreams. People will respect my authority!

But they didn’t. I applied to be a referee for every league possible, but none even gave me a pity acceptance. Sometimes you can do that with job applications. If you look really sad and desperate and say things like “It was my dream to do this…” the employers will hire you. Trust me. It works sometimes. But I guess, not this time for me.

I guess that’s my sad story. My broken dream. I saw my potential as clearly as a Windex sales associate, but it was the world that was blind. It’s the world that couldn’t see what I could do. I could have blazed the trail and inspire a whole generation. I could have been the greatest blind referee to ever live. In a way, I still am! If life is a sport, then I am the ref. For now, I sit there and shout things at people on the street, blowing my whistle, and being crazy for loving what I do.

 

What you’ve just read is the fifth post in a series entitled “A Fan Fiction of My Life by My Number One Fan, Me.” Please check out the first four posts from the series:
Me, A Doctor
I Am A Controversial Artist, AMA
A Well-Respected Elderly Man, It’s Me
Bringer of Bad News, I’m the One

 

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What Should I Cut From My Novel? [Video]

 

What should I cut from my novel?

We all want the answer to that question to be nothing. The novel is perfect. Publish it and earn your spot on the New York Times best sellers list. Oh, our delusions. That simply isn’t the case. When we write, often times, we are trying to get all the words down on the paper. What we don’t often see when we are churning away is that some of the characters, subplots, and scenes are unfocused and doesn’t serve the over-arching plot.

When we reread and edit, we must do so with a critical eye, take a step back from the prose itself and ask: does all this connect?

Even if the writing is fantastic, if it doesn’t serve the plot, it might have to be eliminated.

Many authors have said it, so I might as well say it again: Kill your darlings.

Kill your darlings does not mean cutting the parts of the story you love the most, but rather, making the edits that are best for the story, not your ego. Yes, we all want to keep that delightful character that we skillfully crafted or relish in that scene where an epic action sequence occurred, however, if those elements aren’t serving the greater good: the story, then it is best to remove them.  

 

Game plan:

My prologue was not a darling, it was an information dump. I have an idea to make it a more encapsulating scene, and I tend to do so after I finish reading through the novel. If I approach it correctly, I will be able to tie the prologue to the actual storyline of a plot. Yes, that is the plan.

 

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