Monday, July 18, 2011

announcing International Sh*tty First Draft Week!



*scratches mosquito bite*

*turns page*

*looks up and startles at presence of blog readers*

Oh! Hello there. This blog (and indeed, INTERN herself) appears to have hit the summer doldrums, a still and windless time when posting is sparse and great waves are even sparser. What was INTERN doing all last week? Gnawing on lemons? Weeping in the library check-out line? Fanning herself with a subscription card for The Economist while horse flies circled her head?

Well, yes and no. Or rather, yes, but that's not all. INTERN was also scheming. Specifically, she has been plotting a Week. A daring and mischievous Week. A Week in which published and not-yet published authors alike will reveal their deepest secrets. A Week in which you are all invited to participate.

July 25-29th is henceforth declared International Sh*tty First Draft Week.

Have you ever read a book so beautifully-written it made you want to quit, 'cause what's the point of writing when there are people out there who can write like that?

Have you ever read a novel full of such deep insights that your own manuscript feels like a swim in the kiddie pool by comparison?

Have you ever wished you could read the first drafts of your favorite books? Wished you could see your favorite authors' mistakes, out-takes, bloopers, and cut scenes? Have a peek at the process by which a first draft gets trimmed, stretched, dyed, stitched, and powdered into a published novel?

Well, haven't you?

Next week, for the first time ever, four exciting authors will be sharing excerpts of their first drafts on this blog and answering questions about the revision process that resulted in a published novel.


But that's not all!

On the fifth day (Friday), henceforth known as International Celebration of Sh*tty First Drafts, INTERN invites EVERYONE to post an excerpt from their own sh*tty* first draft in the comments (or post it on your own blog and put a link in the comments). It will be like skinny-dipping—we'll all run into the freezing cold lake at the same time! Yes, your first draft is embarrassing, but so is everyone's! To the lake! To the lake!

To make the first-draft reveal all the more thrilling, INTERN will be offering priceless prizes to three Sh*tty First Draft participants selected at random.

The prizes will be:

1. A first 50 pages critique by INTERN! (this can be applied to any present or future manuscript, and does not need to go towards the draft in question.)

2. A Sh*tty First Draft prize pack including a red pen (for scribbling all over your manuscript), various made-by-INTERN motivational signs for posting around your desk, perhaps a Book or two, etc. etc.

3. A Mystery Package of books and twigs and bits of string and aluminum foil and...oh wait, you are writing a book, not making a nest. Well, INTERN is sure you will find something clever to do with it.



The excitement begins next Monday. In the meantime, INTERN wishes you happy drafting!

*Why the asterisk in "Sh*tty," you ask? It stands for all the ways in which first drafts are the very opposite of shitty: they can hold flashes of inspiration, stretches of brilliant writing, and scenes that got cut not due to shittiness, but out of necessity. The asterisk stands for *or otherwise unusable for whatever reason. But that was too bulky to include in the official name, don't you think?


  1. Oh, now this could be interesting :)

  2. This is brilliance! I'm so excited!

  3. Brilliant, Intern. I am so there.

    (However, as I do NaNoWriMo every year, I already have a Sh*tty First Draft MONTH.)

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  5. I love this - esp since my latest blog post features a SFD snippet, so it's timely (sort of). I might post another one during SFD week...if I don't die of embarrassment at the thought. [g]

  6. This sounds like a fun idea. I can't wait!

  7. I can't wait. Gonna throw some bloated purple prose out there for y'all to slog through.

  8. Perfect timing! I start edits on my first draft on Thursday (not that I'm counting down the days or anything...)

  9. Awesome! Can't wait to take part!

  10. Ha I'm so doing this. There are plenty of paragraphs of clumsy exposition that I've cut from my novel that's coming out in September. I'm sure I can drag out a corker.

    Does this mean that INTERN has a shitty first draft to share too?

  11. AWEsome! I can't wait for this... :D

  12. Cool! Looking forward to this.

  13. Holy crapola! You're my hero, INTERN!

  14. This is what I've been looking for. Actually a book with first draft excerpts. Because you know they just have to be crappy. Hemmingway probably had way too many adjectives, and McCormac probably used the word grass over and over again, before he came up with the 1001 synonyms for the stuff.

  15. I love you, INTERN! This will be such fun! :D


  16. Rhiannon: but of course! INTERN would not send you all running into a freezing lake and remain on the beach, cackling treacherously! that would not be honorable.

  17. Ann: INTERN was thinking the exact same thing. INTERN would read entire drafts of her favorite books if she could...maybe that's why she loves her work as a freelance critiquer/editor...

  18. Yes, yes, and yes to all 3 "have you ever" questions. Recently, too.

    This sounds like a wonderful experiment.

  19. Love this, can't wait to get all cold & goosebumpy with y'all.