Just Keep Swimming…Thoughts on Drafting

I am closing in on the end of my 2013 novel with Walker/Bloomsbury. It doesn’t have a title right now. It used to have one…but it was the wrong title, and now it’s simply known as Science-Gone-Wrong-Everglades-Thriller, or SGWET, for short.  (That’s pronounced Sig-Wet for those who like acronyms…appropriate, given the whole swamp thing, no?)

Anyway…as some of you may know, revision is my absolute favorite part of the writing process.  But I don’t revise until I finish my draft.  This is mostly because facing down the problems of a new book while I’m still writing that book…bums me out and slows me down and, in darker moments, sends me plunging into fits of despair over why I can’t be better at this writing thing.  But revising? When I revise, I am smart, capable, and happy.  So drafting, for me, is an exercise in this:


I’m between ten and fifteen thousand words from writing THE END, though, and then the real fun of revision begins. For now…I’ll be swimming and singing.

In other news…some links to share:

Uber-Librarian Betsy Bird posted this lovely review of MARTY MCGUIRE on her Fuse #8 Blog for School Library Journal.

And Sarah of The Reading Zone had these nice things to say about REAL REVISION: AUTHORS’ STRATEGIES TO SHARE WITH STUDENT WRITERS.

Along those lines, I have a guest post on the Stenhouse Publishers blog this week, part of their Summer Blogstitute series for educators.  My essay, “How to Critique Writing,” uses quotes from the editorial letter my editor Mary Kate sent to help me revise THE BRILLIANT FALL OF GIANNA Z. She is smart and kind and really provides kids and teachers and writers of all ages with a great model of how to help an author make his or her writing stronger.  Here’s a link to that post.

And finally, look what came in the mail today!  (It is sideways… Accept my apologies. I don’t know how to fix that, and I am sleepy.)

It’s a finished copy of my Fall 2011 picture book, OVER AND UNDER THE SNOW, illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal. And a French edition, too!!  This is the first book for which I’ve sold foreign rights, so it was exciting to read it in another language and see how some words and phrases changed a bit. The French title is A WHOLE WORLD UNDER THE SNOW, which I also like a lot. And Chris’s art, of course, is lovely in any language.

5 Replies on “Just Keep Swimming…Thoughts on Drafting

  1. Ah, a good reminder! I, too, most love having the bones of the draft there (something, I think, about my uncertainty that I can get it there, to the end, completely fabricated out of nothing, makes me panic while first drafting!) to revise. I love getting new insights about how all the things go together in ways I was only dimly aware of while drafting and with a few tugs of the threads, zing! But drafting…yeah, keep on swimming.

    Hope your swim to the finish is a good sprint! 🙂

  2. I love that all writers enjoy different aspects. I love writing the first draft. Just pure creativity and seeing the story come together. I’m blind to any poor craft. I enjoy revisions, just in a different way. I like to look at structure and I like rewriting and making the story better. That’s awesome you’re almost done. Sounds like a fun story!

  3. So far (as a newbie) I have just loved the revision process too, especially if I have had excellent feedback from a good editor 🙂

    Really happy about your French edition. Félicitations, Kate 🙂