A group blog featuring an international array of killer mystery, suspense, and romantic suspense writers. With premises and story lines different from your run-of-the-mill whodunits, we tend to write outside the box. We blog several times a week on all topics relating to romantic suspense and mystery, our writing, and our readers. We welcome all comments and often have guest bloggers. All our authors can be contacted separately, too, using their own social media links.

We find our genre delightfully, dangerously, and deliciously exciting - join us here, if you do too!

Julie Moffet . Cathy Perkins . Jean Harrington . Daryl Anderson . Nico Rosso . Maureen A Miller . Sandy Parks . Lisa Q Mathews . Sharon Calvin . Lynne Connolly . Janis Patterson . Vanessa Keir . Tonya Kappes . Julie Rowe . Joni M Fisher . Leslie Langtry

Friday, February 21, 2014

The End...of the First Draft

I've just reached the end of the rough first draft of my latest novel. This is what my desk looks like after the apocalypse (I removed the tissues. You can thank me later ;)).The piece of paper with the hieroglyphics written on it, on the left hand side of the keyboard is a little (ha!) flow diagram of the plot that I drew last week--OMG. Absolute disaster. I have too many characters, too much plot, political intrigue, and not enough romance. But even though I know I have holes and inconsistencies in the story, even though I know I need to do more research, change the pace, even though I know it needs work, I ploughed on to get the first draft done. 

My books always require multiple (x 10) drafts. I never write anything worth reading on the first go around. I sometimes wonder if my first draft is actually a giant eighty-thousand-word outline that I rewrite into something (hopefully) worth reading.

I guess if doesn't really matter what my process is, only that I stick at it with as much tenacity as I am capable of and finish the first draft. Then I can edit until the characters feed off each other, the plot holes are filled, the pace and plot and intrigue go hand-in-hand with the romance. This is the aim. This is the goal.

Great advice from Mr. King...

So don't give up or abandon hope. Writing is hard, and the end of the first draft is only the beginning!

And as a little advertising sidebar (because I'm really not Mr King :))
the boxed set (DANGEROUS ATTRACTION) which contains my book THE KILLING GAME will be taken off the market come March 1st. Forever!
Only $2.99. Don't miss this last chance to get it before it's gone.

Barnes & Noble:

AND (as if that wasn't enough!) my publisher has DANGEROUS WATERS listed at only $1.99 until the end of February at


Maureen A. Miller said...

I particularly enjoy the pile of books to elevate the monitor. I am now about to try that!

Congratulations on finishing the rough draft!

Anne Marie Becker said...

I'm so glad I already grabbed my boxed set! :)

Wow, you said it, Toni. Writing. Is. Hard.

And I'm relieved to hear your process is similar to mine. I have writer friends who only produce a few hundred words a day but they have very little editing to do later. Sometimes I think I'm making a big mistake writing fast without stopping to replot, but a lot of the plot threads don't twist/braid together until I've got a whole draft on paper. Frustrating to have to go back and weave it all together, but I guess that's my process. ;)

Anne Marie Becker said...

Oh yes, and congrats on finishing that draft!!! Huge accomplishment.

Elise Warner said...

Glad I picked up the boxed set immediately. Impressed by the look of your work space.I even have papers on the floor. Look forward to reading your new baby.

Toni Anderson said...

LOL Maureen--I am always trying to get my ergonomics just right :)

Toni Anderson said...

Thanks, Anne Marie :)

We obviously work in similar ways. It isn't pretty. It isn't easy. Hopefully in the end, it works. Fingers crossed :)

Toni Anderson said...

Elise--thank YOU :)
I have piles of books on the floor too. And usually a child and dog. And a radiator. *sigh* :)

Ugh--nervous this one won't come together.

jean harrington said...

Toni, Want to talk about the concept of boxed books? I like the idea, but don't quite understand it. Having one book in a boxed set of 6 or 8 for a limited amount of money can't be the only reason. Is it to get "your name out there?" Does the author(s) decide to box up the books for sale--after getting rights back--or is this usually a publisher's decision? I'm really at sea about this. Would love your insight and rationale for what seems to be a new/old trend.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on finishing your first draft, Toni! Can't wait to read your latest!! Love the glimpse of your work space. Looks awesome. What would life be without post-it notes, am I right?! :-)

Ana Barrons said...

Thanks for this post, Toni. I followed King's advice really for the first time on the novella I completed about a month ago. Up until then I took forever to complete a first draft. Like you, I did multiple drafts thereafter, but those took forever as well. I'm trying to write more efficiently, but it's so hard!

Shirley Wells said...

I am so envious of your tidy desk!

I have to rattle through a first draft as quickly as possible and I write 80-100,000 words of complete and utter dross. It's as if I'll lose the whole idea of the story if I don't commit it to paper as quickly as possible. And when I reach the end of that first draft, half of me is relieved and the other half is in a blind panic that it won't come together.

Congrats on getting there!

Marsha said...

Great post, Toni. Let me assure you however, crazy your process is, your end results are brilliant! Huge fan girl here. LOL
I plot a bunch, but I'm not an extremist. I'm 16 K into my WIP and realize I need to do more of that hard work, of what happens next for each of these people. Just dropped one POV and added another. I had the wrong guy as the really bad guy. So have to go back and beef up his character chart. LOL Such a fun job. How lucky to get to do it at all. Do you put it away for a bit before you start edits and rewrites? I do that. A good friend doesn't. I think bottom line is doing whatever works for us. I'll share.

Toni Anderson said...

Jean--the recent box-set phenomena has been a tool utilised by indie authors I believe. Indie authors are always looking for ways to increase visibility and when the freebie and 99c arenas became saturated authors tried to figure out other ways to find new readers.

I see publishers doing it more now--obviously they always did it but they didn't leverage it the way indie authors have.

I did a blog post on my decision to do a box set

There are different reasons for doing it. I do think they should be for a limited amount of time/or should be a sampler of work. Read the post and ask anything else you might want to know. All I know for sure is it is hard work to sell enough copies to hit the lists. A LOT of work. We sold over 45K copies and hit the NYT ebook list at #21.

Toni Anderson said...

Kathy--you are my saviour and you know it :) Post it notes rock!!

Toni Anderson said...

Kathy--you are my saviour and you know it :) Post it notes rock!!

Toni Anderson said...

Ana--it is hard :)

Toni Anderson said...

Shirley--another sister in method :)
Always worried I can't do it. Sheesh. The more I think about it the more worried I get :)

Toni Anderson said...

Marsha--thank you :) I do plot extensively but I find that when I start writing the story becomes so much bigger because it is everyone's story, not just the H/h or even the so-called bad guy. So things have to happen and sometimes you need an extra POV character to do what has to be done. This book got a little crazy. Best of luck with your WIP. We ARE lucky to do what we do :)

I don't put the ms away unless I have other edits to work on. But when I send it to my CP I'll get some space from it. I find that I need a big break to really see it objectively and we don't always have that luxury. I have another ms with a beta reader and editor and I know I'll see that with a fresh eye when they get back to me b/c I've written another book in the meantime :)

Kimberly Perry said...

Congrats on finishing the first draft, Toni. Woohoo! That means another book for us to read.

LOVE the stack of books under your monitor as well as the secondary search tool . . . the laptop.

Thanks for sharing a glimpse of your writing world with us. Can't wait to read the new story!

Toni Anderson said...

LOL-yes, Kimberly. I occasionally need one of those books and have to search for a replacement :)
This should be the second book in a new FBI type series. Assuming my editor likes the first. Ugh. Always a worry even though I'm self publishing them :)

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