What is a first draft? This can be different for many people. For me I just want to get Ideas out of my head. But I may take it just a step further. I’ll explain …
First my nots.
I am not going to worry about spelling, grammar or punctuation.
Nor finding the right words.
I’m not going to worry about word count.
I’m not going to worry about for which age group I am writing.
I will not worry if it should be a PB or early reader or for a magazine.
I will not worry if everything makes sense. Plot holes? Whatever.
These will not be my worries. This will all come with rewrites and edits.
I write by hand. I am a pencil and paper kind of guy. Officially the first draft is done when I finish scribbling and set down the pencil. For 52 First Drafts I want to get them all typed into the computer to be complete – for these reasons: 1) 52 first drafts on scraps of different paper will be impossible to keep organized. 2) I’m traveling with one carry-on sized bag, so no room. 3) It will be easier for me to continue to work on the ones I like and share them with my critique group.
In my process of getting the stories onto the computer I will surely edit a bit, taking care of any minor problems that are easy fixes.
I will worry about being complete; beginning, middle and end, and most of the bits in between. It needs to be something I might let my husband or critique group read, something I can work on later if I want. If items need minor research, I will do the research. I will not leave parts unwritten. Sometimes when writing, I will leave a space with a note (figure out dialogue), (Think of name for this character), (describe the scene here). I will complete all of these notes.
If I start a story and work on it for a while, but find it’s not really going anywhere (no ending), It doesn’t count. I don’t expect I will like everything I write, but by the end of the year, I will have 52 stories.
Travel. A lot of it. A trip of a lifetime. Exploring cultures, history, nature. But this isn’t just a sightseeing trip. I want to use the time to write. I want to use the time to improve and create.
The trip started with two weeks in Europe: Italy, Hungary, Czech Republic, Netherlands. Then we moved on to Asia. We have our sights on Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia, Philippines, Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar. Maybe Northern Asia too? Other possibilities: Jordan, India, Egypt, South Pacific and South America.
I have always loved travel. Since I was a child, I have always been fascinated with the worlds great monuments and cities. As a visual person, I want to see it all in person. Observe. Take it all in.
I think of myself a fairly lazy, but not when there is something I really want. This trip is years in the making. It took more sacrifice than most people realize. I’ve really had no life for the last couple of years. All of my efforts had been focused on planning and saving for this trip. Yikes. When I think of it like that … I better make the most of this trip.
We left Washington, DC on August 13th, 2014. We traveled the US for a month visiting family and making final preparations. On September 2nd we flew to Europe, and on September 18th we arrived in Bangkok. We have no set plans, but we hope to be traveling for about a year.
My husband and I. We are lucky to be of one mind on most topics. We have similar travel styles and needs, from types of hotels to food to things we want to see to how much we want to work on writing and non travel activities. We both have projects we are pursuing while on the road. Unfortunately we both want to use the computer at the same time.
Welcome to the 52 First Drafts project. I am going to attempt to write one picture book every week for a year-just the first drafts. Where will I get the ideas? Where will I find the energy? Will I make it to the end? Only time will tell.
I am starting this blog on week 11. So far, I have written 11 new stories. So far it has been a lot of fun.
I hear over and over again, the only way to become a better writer is to write. I want to write picture books. I want them to be good. I want to have my work published.
How often in life are we afforded the luxury of time? I happen to have some free time this year. I am determined not to waste it. On these pages I will chronicle my journey to become a better writer and hopefully a published writer (but mostly the better part).
My struggles, my victories, my walls, my growth, my observations, my discoveries.
52 first drafts, here we go.
Hi, I’m David McMullin, picture book writer and illustrator. This is a new journey for me. After years as an actor and teacher, I am starting a new chapter in my life.
I’m the type who needs to be instantly terrific an everything I do. The reality if often very different. Writing takes work, talent, luck, experience, creativity, knowledge. etc. Sadly, there are too many factors for me to be instantly terrific.
So far I’ve become a member of SCBWI, gone to a few conferences, joined a critique group, and submitted to a few publishers. I’m off to a good star, but it looks like it’s going to be a long (but rewarding) adventure.
Oh, and I have some big projects in the works. Keep reading. I think you’ll find them quite interesting.
I plan to have a lot of fun; otherwise, what’s the point? I hope you join me.