In the book “Bird by Bird” by Anne Lamott, (which, incidentally, I highly recommend) she gives a suggestion that one should always look to produce a bad first draft. That is, the first draft of your work is not intended for anyone to see, it is just a way of getting the story out of your head and onto paper. This suggestion is more about attitude than substance, but for me it was very freeing, and so over the course of last year, I wrote a draft which was very much a brain dump of the story that has been in my head for a while. I actually called the word document “A Bad First Draft,” mainly because I didn’t have a name for the book.
Having done that, I’m ready to go back, re-write, re-order, strip it out and start again, which is both an exciting and a daunting task to contemplate.
I’ve come up with a working title of the book: “Being Tony”. The story follows the life and loves of Tony, an ordinary man living a normal life in a normal place. It is a novel which is an amalgamation of people I have known, places I have seen and stories I have been told woven together with my own brand of imagining. I hope that it is that very ordinariness that will make it unique.
As part of this process I’m going to do something really scary – I’m going to share it as I write it! Right here on my blog, I will put out 2nd draft extracts as I “finish” them. The quotes there are because it will still be a work in progress even after I’ve published it here, and I reserve the right to change it radically before final publication!
You are welcome to read along, comment, say what you like and don’t like, and generally be part of the writing process. My next post here will have part of the first chapter that I am working on this week: let the drafting begin!