Wednesday, March 20, 2013

When It’s Finished, You’ll Know: Or Writing 47* Drafts Until The Story Sparkles

Welcome to Writing Wednesdays with my guest, Crescent Moon Press author, Lindsey R. Loucks.
She's telling it like it is this morning. From first draft to final draft, we never know how many trips we'll take for perfection on that novel. Learning along the way is always fun though.

Take it away, Lindsey!
I didn’t have a GPS system when I set out to write The Grave Winner, a YA paranormal fantasy romance. I did, however, have a full tank of gas in the form of caffeine and a brand new notebook. The words came effortlessly. The main character felt so real that I imagined her sitting next to me whispering the plot into my ear. This whole writing thing was lemon squeezy easy.

Or, so I thought.

It turned out my plot had some holes, holes big enough to bury a body inside. My critique buddies graciously pointed them all out to me. I filled them, brushed the dirt from my hands, and pronounced the story finished. Yay me!

But then a freelance editor offered to take a look at it since I won a contest. Great news! She loved the story and wanted to show it to the agent she interns for, BUUUUUUTTT… Enter a two page single-spaced editorial letter here. There were inconsistencies in the main character. Some of the plot needed more clarifying. It needed more work.


She was right, though. So, I scrubbed and polished and said, “Yes, I finally have it! This is it!” But then I won another contest. (My lucky streak was off-the-charts high that year, I guess). This time, a bestselling thriller author would critique my first chapter. The really, really important first chapter. Guess what? It needed work. The action started too soon, she said. With my particular opening scene, she thought it would be more powerful if I eased into the action. I wasn’t so sure, but I rewrote it anyway.

And it worked so much better! Now you may be asking, “Lindsey, dear, if you keep taking all these people’s advice, you’re never going to be finished!” But from the very first draft, something niggled at me that the story wasn’t perfect. Yet. That’s why I kept listening.

The lesson? Show your work to as many people who know the craft as possible and then edit, edit, edit until you know it’s finished.

After seven more rounds of revisions with my Crescent Moon Press editor, I can finally say that my story is as sparkly as it’s going to be. Now my niggles have turned into debut book jitters, but I can handle that. 

*I don’t know if 47 is accurate since I lost count a long time ago.


Lindsey R. Loucks works as a school librarian in rural Kansas. When she's not discussing books with anyone who will listen, she's dreaming up her own stories. Eventually her brain gives out, and she'll play hide and seek with her cat, put herself in a chocolate induced coma, or watch scary movies alone in the dark to reenergize.

She's been with her significant other for almost two decades.

Check out her blog for more information and to contact her. She would love to hear from you!

 The Grave Winner Book Blurb:

Leigh Baxton is terrified her mom will come back from the dead -- just like the prom queen did.

 While the town goes beehive over the news, Leigh bikes to the local cemetery and buries some of her mom’s things in her grave to keep her there. When the hot and mysterious caretaker warns her not to give gifts to the dead, Leigh cranks up her punk music and keeps digging.

 She should have listened.

 Two dead sorceresses evicted the prom queen from her grave to bury someone who offered certain gifts. Bury them alive, that is, then resurrect them to create a trio of undead powerful enough to free the darkest sorceress ever from her prison inside the earth.

With help from the caretaker and the dead prom queen, Leigh must find out what’s so special about the gifts she gave, and why the sorceresses are stalking her and her little sister. If she doesn’t, she’ll either lose another loved one or have to give the ultimate gift to the dead – herself.

 The Grave Winnerreleases May 15th, 2013.
Loni's writing goal today--2,500 words! 




  1. Whoa, that sounds good! Looking forward to it!

  2. Thanks for stopping by, Shawna! I know, this is going to be on my 'to read' list.

  3. Thanks Lindsey for being here today! Can't wait to see your novel! Good luck and thanks for the great post!


  4. The book sounds fantastic Lindsey, thanks for sharing it with us, Loni. I can totally relate with the 47 rewrites thing. My first drafts are always stream of conscious, and then it's rewrite, rewrite, rewrite, until it's done.

  5. Constance,
    Hello! So good to see you here! :)
    I had three beta readers (not to mention the critique partners) read through mine and still had to change things. Telling a story is the easy part--making it smooth and shiny takes a lot of fine grit sanding. Cheers to all the sandpaper and buffing out the rough edges.


  6. Thank you so much for having me, Loni! My blog is open to you any time!

  7. Thank you so much, Lindsey! Great job today! Sending big hugs to you!