control freakery

Filed under: crows

For various reasons I had to send my editor my unfinished first-draft manuscript today.

Oh my God. What an awful feeling. I am such a control freak. Usually my first drafts are only read by my bosom friends, about whom I know blackmailable secrets. The thought that someone else, MY EDITOR, upon whose opinion hangs my career, is reading my first crappy draft makes me chew on my nails.

I’ve taught three courses in the past two months and in each of them I’ve said: “Write crap in the first draft. You can fix it later.”

I never said “Unless your editor asks to see it, and then you will be facing a pit of humiliation as deep as the seventh abyss of hell.”

I think I will go hyperventilate now and attempt to forget all the stupid things I’ve put in this draft which has not been edited at all. (In contrast, I’ve edited this blog post four times.)

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  1. Hugs. Even being one of those blackmailable friends, I still say your first draft is like my polished one!! But I do understand your panic.

  2. (((())))s and then some more ((()))s if they are at all like my first drafts…..

  3. 1) Your ed KNOWS it’s a first draft

    2) It’s your ed’s job to read it

    3) And it’s her job to show you where it needs changing (which might not be where you think it does – as an author you can be too close to a MS to see it clearly)

    Relax. Go eat chocolate. Put on some music and bop round the living room with Fecklet.

    ‘All shall be well and all shall be well and all shall be well.’ (Quote from the first book written in English by a woman. Email me with her name and I’ll send you emergency chocolate *g*) (See, that’s given you something to think about and take your mind off it…)

  4. Sorry, that should be ‘All shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well’ (my excuse is I’m back from a school run after being stuck being TWO tractors in a downpour and I am… in need of chilling)

  5. SOmehow in this kafuffle we have references to Dante, chocolate and tractors.

    Hugs Julie because on Friday Lydia said to me she’d read my first drafts before and I assured her that what she gets are about FOURTH drafts. But your editor knows it’s unedited so try not to pass out as you’re hyperventilating.

    And give Fecklet a squeeze from me. He’s entirely too cute.

  6. She will ask for revisions and then you will be able to do them. She KNOWS you can do revisions.

    But personally I think chocolate and lots of cuddles from the Fecklet are required.

    Michelle–still trying to make her first draft seem less like a POS than it is…

  7. Well, the problem is that this isn’t sent to her for revision time, it’s sent to her for another reason. I like to be given revisions after I’ve done a round of revisions myself, so that my editor doesn’t have to waste her time saying things like “Make this scene make some sort of sense.”

    But you are all right, chocolate is a very good idea.

    She actually said she was used to reading very first drafts and that she wasn’t going to read the whole thing, she just needed a feel of the story.

  8. Thank you for the hugs, Biddy and Liz and Kate and Michelle and Donna.

    Biddy, you have gotten out of being blackmailed yet again…

    Liz…erm, yes.

    Kate, I knew the quote but not who it was from, but now I know after research that it was Julian of Norwich, appropriately. And it’s stuck in my head. And I’m sorry about the tractors.

    Donna, this is a very high-class blog, here. Fecklet will be dutifully hugged when he wakes up tomorrow. It was great to see you and I’m glad you’re home safe!

    Michelle, I’m sure your first drafts aren’t POSs. MINE is a POS. Oh yes it is.

  9. Emergency chocolate on way (am in town today as we have no electricity all day so I have to work in the library instead of my office… across the road from Hotel Chocolat)

    Stop panicking!!

    Repeat after me, “All shall be well…”

    And of course the quote is appropriate. She’s one of the subjects of next June’s book, a companion to the BM’s book of Lincoln HVV 🙂

  10. Nice calming breaths – remember I just sold off a unfinished first draft and trust me it was very first drafty – it’ll be fine.

  11. Thank you for that post Julie. It is reassuring that I am not the only one with a first draft [ 49 thousand words of a first draft] which is going to need SERIOUS work. And your editor will love it!
    Take care, Ray-Anne

  12. Yikes, Julie. But take heart: I once emailed a requested manuscript to an editor and only found out later I’d sent her the first draft, not the beautifully polished final draft I’d prepared for her. It wasn’t even spellchecked.

    She bought it anyway.

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