Friday, August 31, 2012

Quotes and Cookies: Sandcastles

Today's quote is one that I really needed to hear. I've been drafting book 2, and it is SO HARD. And it's feeling SO SLOPPY. And like so many elements are missing. After working on the uberly-polished book 1 for so long, it's feeling like this one is just wrong. But then I read this:


“When writing a first draft I remind myself that I’m simply shoveling sand into a box so that later I can build castles.”
~Shannon Hale


And now I feel a million times better. I'm just putting in the sand! And later--- LATER is when I build the sandcastle. It doesn't have to be a sandcastle at the beginning! It's okay that everything's mostly plot right now, and I haven't included nearly enough character development or setting or even conflict. It's all about shoveling the sand. It kind of makes it all better, doesn't it?

If you've written more than one book, do you find it hard to go from working on edits to drafting, because drafting is so much less polished? Or is that just me?

While you're telling me, have a cookie!

Used with permission from www.beckyhiggins.com

Have a incredibly awesome weekend, everyone!

32 comments:

Bethany Myers said...

Those cookies...

Sorry I'm easily distracted. I treat writing like I'm at a buffet.

When I'm editing, it's all about skipping the lettuce and using the tongs to pick up the olives and feta cheese.

When I'm drafting, I get the big scoop and put as much curry chicken and rice on the plate. The more the better, baby.

Great post! And holy smokes, I have to make those cookies!

When I'm drafting I treat

E.D. said...

First - yummy cookie :-)

Second - I have never worked on two books at the same time (only two short stories) but I can imagine how tough it must be going from one to the other where the task at hand is so different. But I wholeheartedly agree - now you are simply shoveling sand. The castle comes later, as hard as that is to do sometimes.

Have a good weekend!

Shell Flower said...

Great quote, and thanks for the cookie. If you haven't already, you should totally check out Real Actual Hilary's blog (formerly the Intern) as she is writing about this exact thing right now. http://www.hilarytsmith.com/

Clarissa Draper said...

That is an amazing quote. It's making me feel better about my work as well.

Lauren said...

Drafts are the fun part. Picking a recipe, putting all the ingredients together, pounding the dough if you're making bread. Snitching the dough, almost better than the baked cookies sometimes.

Lauren

Angela Cothran said...

Yes! Yes! Yes! While I'm drafting I feel like the crappiest writer EVER! I have to remind myself my book is just bones. I still need to add the flesh.

Z said...

I needed that quote. Thanks for sharing :) I find drafting so difficult. It's so hard to throw words on the page and move past them without editing or over-critiquing them to death. I'm still in drafting on my firsts--maybe it's time to shovel in sand so I can actually build a sandcastle instead of trying to build a castle in the air.

Joshua said...

Awesome cookies. Also, that sandcastle is brilliant!

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...

I love this, Peggy, and thanks for the cookie!

I'll remember this when I finally begin to write my book.

Kathy M.

Suzanne Furness said...

Oh lovely cookies, thanks.

What a great quote. I've just finished (haha is it ever finished!) editing my current novel so thinking which route to take next. Hoping I've built a fabulous castle!

Stephanie Black said...

Love that Shannon Hale quote! It's very freeing when you tell yourself it's okay if that first draft stinks--it's a FIRST draft; you can fix it later.

S.P. Bowers said...

The hard part is when you're editing one piece and drafting another. You have to remember which techniques to use where.

Carrie Butler said...

Yes, yes, yes! That's so me!

At least I'm in good company. :)

ExcuseMeWhileINoteThat Down said...

Before I read all the other "Yes, yes, Yesses" that's what I was going to write! I love the sandcastle thing! I'm building one at the moment that I hope will turn into a sophisticated sand sculpture in the end! :-)

Donna K. Weaver said...

I love that quote! That first draft for me is exactly like that. It's just getting it down so I can do the shaping and molding and refining later.

Those cookies are calling to me . . .

Jenny S. Morris said...

I love the quote. I usually feel pretty good about my writing during drafting. It's when I get comments and go back to revise I'm like, oh man I suck. But then I usually am okay with the final product.

Am I the only one that thinks that sandcastle looks a little bit like, um, oh something I'm not going to actually spell out?

Charlie Holmberg said...

This is a GREAT quote, thanks for sharing!

Iain said...

Do you know how glad I am to read this post?
My sequel has so much missing. I'm mostly writing plot too.
I just hope I have enough sand to fill the bucket

Leigh Covington said...

That quote was perfect for today. Thanks Peggy!

Kathryn Purdie said...

I must cross stitch that quote by Shannon Hale and frame it. If I only cross stitched. Seriously, what a perfect day for me to read this!

Susanna Leonard Hill said...

Best quote ever! It's going on my wall, and I'm going to have to share it all over! Thanks, Peggy! And good luck with book 2 - you can do it :)

JeffO said...

I can taste that chocolate...

That's a great, great quote. I don't have trouble shifting gears from polishing to chucking sand, at least not right now. But I also haven't gone through the level of polishing that comes with an editor's notes and getting ready for publication, either. I imagine that's a whole different level.

Annalisa Crawford said...

Great quote, and yes please I'll have a couple of cookies - one for me and ... erm... one for my... erm, friend?

I'm definitely finding going back to a first draft after polishing my novella a shock. I'm constantly startled by my blank page!

I don't think I have any advice, except maybe write a couple of flash fiction pieces - brief enough not to take you away from your WIP, but something to get you back into the 'making stuff up' groove.

Diana said...

The more I get into my novel, the more I worry about what else I can do if I were to write another. I was originally planning on making it a series, but now the idea just seems daunting. Good luck on your second one, I know it will turn out great!

Krista McLaughlin said...

I think it really can be hard to write myself into that box. I want to keep revising before I finish the draft and that's a no no for me. I like the the idea of making it into a sandcastle. It makes me feel better with my sand and scenes that will most likely be cut immediately when finished. :)

kittyhietala said...

What a great quote! It's so true, and it really supports your imagery of feeling like that first draft is "sloppy." Later comes the polishing, polishing, polishing.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

LOVE that quote. It's the kind of thing I need poster size!

Melissa Sugar said...

That is an awesome quote. I love it. Once we learn that the first draft is never going to be perfect then we can move on to finally perfecting it. Good luck

Emily R. King said...

I prefer drafting to editing. It's the thrill of wondering what the words will build. Once the structure is built, my inner editor sets in and she's hard to shut up. She's kind of a killjoy. :)

Yummy cookies!

Nicole said...

Oh, I love that quote! It's a great reminder for when I'm cranking on a first draft.

M Pax said...

I do find writing the first draft harder than polishing and editing.

Ruth Schiffmann said...

What a helpful quote. Thanks so much for sharing it. And oh, those cookies look amazing.