Monday, April 18, 2011

Good idea, bad ideea. Bad execution...terrible execution

Hello, everybody!

Remember I once threatened everyone that I'll find my first draft and post some of it for a laugh? Well, I found it, only I cringe when I read it. (You will, too, don't doubt that). It's the first novel of my Jewel series.
Over the years of constant rewriting and editing, I came to the conclusion that the original story I wrote when I was nine/ten and what I have now, share the same major turning points. Wait, that's not right. Does that make me a genius nine-year-old, or a retarded twenty-two-year-old?

After carefully analyzing this find, I came to the following conclusion: In my prior versions of my work, I had some good ideas submitted to poor execution. And then there were the terrible ideas with even more terrible executions.

Before you start throwing rocks at me and wondering how I can even call myself a writer, I want to throw some reminders your way:
1. I was 10! And kept my level of dumbness until I turned 15. That's when I grew my first brain,
2. I'm not native English
3. Research wasn't even in my vocabulary back then. Fiction? That's like making stuff up, right?
4. I became active on CC in 2009 and learned how to write.

Okay, those disclaimers dealt with, let's have some fun with retarded ideas and how editing works, shall we?

Example of Terrible idea + terrible execution:

This happens in chapter 1:

"Now Sam, I don't know what you want to become when you grow up, but I thought you would like to make a few dollars," Freider said, putting his briefcase on the desk and getting some papers out of it.
"A few? If I don't get a decent pay, I'm not working for you. Just kidding. Sure I would. What do I have to do?" Sam asked and smiled, making his dad look at him, shocked. Annoying little snut, isn't he? He shook his head after a few seconds. He being Freider here - good thing I remember, else, I'd be terribly confused. Plus, in this version, Sam had some magic powers that made his dad feel like a retard. Just thought I'd throw that in.
"I was thinking about getting a vacation and I need someone to run the company, and I said: Hey, why not let Sam take care of it?" he said, looking at his son. That's some solid parenting, dad.
"Why? Jerry is older and more responsible than me!"
"I know, but I think you're more efficient than him. Besides, you know Jerry's attitude. He's worse than your mother and I guess he'll spend a lot of time cleaning around. That would mean no business, and I could as well close the agency down. I don't want that. So that's why Jerry was out of the question." Over-explaining much?

You think this is bad? I actually added a lot of punctuation marks, because it already makes eyes bleed.
The execution is obviously terrible. But why is the idea so bad? Um... let me see. Probably because Sam is 17? Well, true, he will turn eighteen in about 3 months from this point, but he's still 17.
And no, leaving Jerry wouldn't have worked either since he's 18. Child services anyone?

How did I fix this in the new and improved draft? First off, Freider only gives his irresponsible, under-aged child the task of taking his calls and sorting files for two hours -  while he's still in the same building.
What did I keep from this? Well, Freider still wants a favor that results in Sam being recruited by a secret agency right under his father's nose. And they still leave on vacation :)

Example of decent idea + terrible execution:

But as Jerry ran through the room, he suddenly tripped over something and looked at it surprised.
"What kind of box is this?" he asked, getting up. Over-tagging much?
"That's no box! That's a bomb!" Kyle said breaking Kay's ropes and pushing her out.
They all ran up the hill, except Billy who was still trying to push Alice out of th cabin. But she didn't want to move at all, Over-explaining much?
"I want Jimmy to come and get me!" she yelled decided, keeping her ground. Language impaired much?
"Come on, Alice! Move! The bomb is about to explode!" Billy begged as Sam and Tom ran to help him.
Finally, the three pushed Alice up the hill and Sam looked at the bomb. Five more seconds.
"No time to go up the hill!" he said as they all ran right, but it was too late. Telling much?
The cabin exploded and went in flames. Jerry looked at it petrified as the others turned around. And the subject of this last sentence is...? Your guess is as good as mine.
"I can't believe it," Kyle said stepping in front. "They were actually in there?" he asked and remained frozen all of a sudden.
"It can't be! It just can't!" Jessie said, looking down. "This is all one big ugly nightmare. Nothing is true!" Cry me a river.
"Will you guys get over it?" Alice asked. "They're dead! It's no dream or anything like that! We have to go on now as there is no chance of them surviving." Well, at least some of my characters are looking on the bright side.

Sorry, couldn't help myself with this one. Yes, as you may see, POV, showing, decent human reactions were all a mystery to me. But the main idea stick to this very day - yes, there is an explosion, yes, these very three people die in it, and yes, it's still Alice's fault (see, she was a bitch even in my first draft O:))

I would like to give you an example of good idea, good execution, but there's nothing of the sorts in this here book. I cringed all throughout writing this stuff. Yes, feel free to laugh.

What was the point of this post? Maybe to point out that you can still pick usable ideas from your most embarrassing drafts (I know I did/ still do). And maybe make you feel a little better about yourself.
If you want to see how my writing looks now, there are some snippets in the sidebar with some of my WIPs.

I'll do a post later with how the first para of my novel has changed through the rewrites. (Yes, more reasons to laugh at me). Hope I managed to entertain. Feel free to share your most humiliating secrets as well.


  1. HAHAHA.
    I don't think I'm ready to share my most humiliating wip(s) yet. ;P
    Joining CC helped my writing a lot too.
    This was a great read. Just like me, you didn't give up on your first manuscript.

  2. Hi Stef!

    Loved the sample draft. Makes me feel better about mine! LOL. Kidding, of course. I think they are equally terrible.

    Thanks for sharing. It was a fun read.


  3. Ok, so you wrote this when you were 9 or 10? And English isn't your first language? Dear, this is still much better than some things I've read. Your talent was just budding then.

    Run with it! Be free! Scamper through the fields of literacy! :)

  4. You're a better person than I! I'm afraid to see what my very first draft looks like. It's hiding somewhere in a dark corner, where I hope no one will find it :)

  5. Your comments were hysterical :D

    Sorry I haven't been on here in a while :)


  6. Thanks all you guys. You made me feel a bit better (even if I don't really deserve it :p) My English was rather abysmal at that point in time.


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