Messy First Draft

It’s done, that messy first draft of my first full length novel for an adult audience. I’ve lost track of when I began the journey, it was at least 3 years ago, probably more.  Now I’m smoothing the rough edges, massaging it, trying to get a sense of whether it works as a whole and is not just a bunch of disconnected scenes. Does it even reveal the story I set out to tell?

When it’s as polished as I can make it I’ll ask for feedback from my writing critique group. Their responses will likely give me more to think about, probably resulting in additional rewriting. And that’s when the really challenging part begins; finding an agent and/or a publisher. My connections are in the world of children’s literature. This is a whole new arena.

Running just below the surface is that inner battle I constantly face – is this the best use of my time? Of my life? Will this book even see the light of day, and if it does, will reading it engage, entertain and be thought-provoking for its intended audience?

The following  passage from a book titled Birds Art Life by Kyo Maclear expresses this self-doubt perfectly.

“He was, at the very least, familiar with the feeling that making art – funny art, beautiful art, tender art, boring art, fierce art, humble art, lofty art, existential art, “political” art (or, in my case, art about the trials of making art) – was a fairly limited and potentially narcissistic thing to be doing with one’s time on a fucked-up planet.”

Well said Kyo.  But what kind of a world would it be without art? Even humble art.  As writers we have to believe that our stories do make a difference. That we do have something to say that is worth reading.  And with that in mind I’ll go back to cleaning up that messy first draft.

2 thoughts on “Messy First Draft

  1. Brian Mulligan

    Another good read, Shelley. Here is my thought. Art is in the eye of the beholder. A more precise definition that works for me is – ‘Art is reality with all the clutter removed’. Subscribing to the notion that we are living in an increasingly cluttered world, I believe their is an increasing appetite for Art. More choices, issues, technology and Walmarts add to the clutter that is not going away. Adult fiction, like a Picasso, removes the clutter. We’ll need more!

    1. Shelley Hrdlitschka Post author

      Thanks Brian! I like that thought, that art removes the ‘clutter’, it zeros in on reality. I’ve never thought of it that way but it really appeals.

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