I’ve written a few first drafts now and I’m starting to see a pattern here.

First drafts are to finished books as a bag of groceries is to a finished dinner.  You have to make sure you have all the ingredients you want in the story, but no way are you shoving the cake mix in your mouth right out of the box. You have to work with it first.

In the same way, writing the first draft is about getting the elements of the story down. No way is this going to be or even supposed to be readable.

The difference is (at least for me) that I often don’t know what the elements of the story are until I write that first draft. I have some ideas, sure. A plot, an outline even sometimes. (that’s a bit like your grocery list, to continue the analogy) But how a character will react, the interactions they’ll have with a minor character, an encounter with their families … all these define a person on one hand and illuminate their personality on the other. I don’t see these coming sometimes until they get written.

I see too many people struggling to make their first drafts ‘perfect’. They won’t be. Stop trying.

Or as Tom Clancy put it, “Just finish the damn thing.”


Today is Thanksgiving day in the US and I hope all of you are having a great day.

It’s been a while.

Appointments: 4 (one still to go)

Researched: Names of light cavalry units. Various words in Finnish.

Accomplishments: Broke 50k on People of the Earth in 19 days (a record for me).

High point of the week: Going to the local farmers’ market on Saturday.

Bad thing: The doctor thinks something’s wrong with my heart. 😕

The High Life: Hmm. Can’t think of anything offhand.

I think we’re on week 4

Well, I got distracted by this book (and some other things that meant I didn’t finish the book yet) and forgot to mention I did eat local yesterday. It’s been hot as hell here, and I didn’t feel much like eating, so I just had a salad. A bunch of different kinds of lettuce (the oak leaf is doing well right now) with a couple thick slabs of one of my big red tomatoes. Some red wine vinegar on top and parsley flakes, and I was set.

Still don’t have pictures (and you won’t of this one, since I ate it then remembered the picture) which is a shame. It was purdy.

Still can’t get the computers to see each other. One of these days I’ll have pictures. Here’s my entry in One Local Summer for this week:

We had buffalo burgers tonight. Meat from OK (I got to meet the man who raises the buffalo at the farmers’ market), lettuce and tomato from my garden, hamburger buns from CO (Rudy’s Organic Bakery, best bread anywhere).

That was it! One thing I’ve noticed about organic food, it fills you up better so you don’t need to eat as much.

ETA: I now have my memory strip drive! Which means I have a picture:

I did my local eating thing but I’m having some technical difficulties (the hard drive died on the computer that has the port for my camera’s memory chip) so I can’t post the picture today. I’ll post it later.

I made a leg of lamb (grassfed from OK), roasted with organic kohlrabi (from the farmers’ market fifteen minutes away), and a green salad (various lettuces, snow peas and purslane from my garden) with organic creamy vinaigrette dressing (made in NM).

I’d never done a leg of lamb before and I’ll have to say it’s very tender, tasty meat. Definitely will make that again.

ETA: Finally have a picture:

I ran across this website that’s doing a challenge called One Local Summer, (if you’re just now reading this, they have a new website here) and since I’m usually up for a challenge and never tried this before, I decided to do it. Basically what you do is have one meal a week where everything on the menu is made locally. You can choose what local means to you; I decided that since Oklahoma isn’t all that big I would try to keep it inside OK but one state to each side is all right.

So here was dinner today:

The package on the noodles said “Garden Rotelli” so that’s what I’m calling this. My kids call it curly noodles, and they came from Missouri (the noodles, not the kids). The sauce on top is ground buffalo from OK, with tomatoes, green onions, and snow peas, all from my garden. I put some powdered garlic and “italian seasoning” in there too. Yum.

The bread and cheese are both from OK. I buttered the bread and put grated cheese and more powdered garlic on it then broiled it.

Everyone liked it and it was local too, more or less. So there ya go. This wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be.