Tuesday, August 7, 2012

August is Awesome Because of Daisy Carter

Daisy's writing is awesome enough to land her an agent.  (See this post and this post for the details on that.)  But her imagination is so awesome that it conjures real, live people in restaurants that previously only existed as characters in the depths of that creative mind of hers.

And they talk to her.  For real!  (Proof)

I love Daisy's refreshing, point blank humor and her openness on her blog.  

Please welcome the awesome Daisy Carter.

Sure-fire ways to tell if your writer friends are working on first drafts:

1. They mumble things like, "The pantyhose are a metaphor!" at dinner parties.  
2. They're wearing the same coffee-stained shirt as the last time you saw them...a month ago.  
3. Their coffee, btw, smells very much like a liquor cabinet.
4. They sob uncontrollably/laugh hysterically/sigh like they're blowing into a breathalyzer for no apparent reason.  
5. They have that look in their eyes.  You know the one - you've seen it on Most Wanted posters at the post office.
6.  They tell you.  Repeatedly.      

Have I described someone you know?  Have I described YOU?  Please don't be offended if I have; this paints a pretty accurate picture of me at the moment.  Well, not a pretty accurate picture - there's nothing pretty about it.

According to Rose Nylund, the creative process is a lot like giving birth.

Rose is right.  First drafts are TOUGH.  They're painful, they're exhausting, and they're emotional.

And when it's all said and done, you have a beautiful mess that needs to be cleaned up, bundled, and loved for a long time before it's ready to send out into the world.  But that's the easy part...er, well, it's a different part.  To get to it, you've gotta get through the first draft.  The painful, never-ending first draft.

So, you can do one of two things:
One, join Rose on the lanai and practice your lamaze breathing.  Not a bad idea, but really, what's lamaze but trying to slow down your pacing?
Two, get off that wicker chaise lounge and get to it.  Yes, there will be pain.  Yes, it will hurt and you'll push too hard when you're supposed to let your body of work take its time.  Yes, you will scream.  You might get red-faced and sweaty.  You might snap at loved ones who come in with herbal tea.


Ouch.  Doesn't sound like much fun, does it?
That's how it is for a lot of us, though.  And you know what makes it even harder?  When we meet those writers who talk about what an easy delivery they had.  "Oh, I whip out my first drafts in about two weeks."

Two weeks?!? I have leftovers older than that!

I don't envy those writers.  Really.  I don't.  Not.  At.  All.  Especially when I remind myself that those writers are (usually) plotters.  They have a pretty clear picture of the beginning, middle, and end of their drafts before they set pen to paper.  Not me.  I'm more of a pantster.  I have an idea, and I try to have an ending.  At least, I know where I THINK my story will end.  But other than that, I'm at the mercy of my characters.  They take me wherever they want.

This works for me.  But my first drafts take a LOT longer to write.  Like, 4 months longer.  I'm working on shortening that number.  I'd really like to cut my drafting time in half.  2 months seems a reasonable amount of time... right?

No more heavy breathing with Rose.  From now on, I'm going to write like a REAL Golden Girl - an Olympian.  I'll stick to a regimen, set goals, and track my growth.  And maybe, just maybe, I'll hit that goal.  One way I'll do this?

Cut out "junk food."  From now on, when I'm writing, I won't stuff my time with extras: checking my email every time my phone dings at me; doing "quick" google searches for research Big Bang Theory memes; reading writer blogs.

All of these things are great - but they're junking up my writing time.  So, I'm turning off my Wi-Fi, muting my phone so I don't hear the email/text/call dings, and putting in uninterrupted hours of work.

If all goes to plan, I'll have an AWESOME August!  You can read about the rest my Olympic regimen at my blog, Fresh As A Daisy.

And when all else fails, watch a clip: 

Do you have a routine you stick to?  A regimen?  Do you write like Rose, or worse, like Blanche?
Daisy Carter has never been on a soap opera, but she did once sing on stage at Disney World.  She writes YA contemporaries and is represented by the fabulous Tricia Lawrence of Erin Murphy Literary Agency.  Her current manuscript, NEXT, is the story of four girls whose lives intertwine on their graduation day. She blogs about writing and books at Fresh As A Daisy. It's hurricane weather down in Florida, where Daisy lives with her family.  
In other news, any land-locked readers interested in meeting Daisy in person, and soon, can email her at DaisyCarterFresh [at] gmail [dot] com.  


  1. I'm working under a handicap at the moment--my BIL (that's brother in law) gave us a wireless modem so I don't have to wait for anyone to get off the "internet" computer. So I'm spending a lot more time in the ether. :)

    I really need to learn some self control. The lack of it is cutting into my writing time.

  2. nice to meet you Daisy. Love the labor analogy!

  3. You made me laugh to tears, honestly. Mostly because the description fits me oh so painfully perfect right now. I loved the post. Thanks!

  4. Fortunately, that description doesn't fit me - I'm more of the quite, focused type. Doesn't freak out the wife as much.
    I'll spend months planning an outline, but it still takes me two months to write the first draft, as it's not my favorite part of the process.

  5. Thanks, Jeff, for letting me takeover STRANDS for a day! Can't wait to have you on my blog soon - Sensational September, perhaps? :)

    Dragon, I aim for full on potty-in-the-pants, but I'll take tears. Thanks!

    Alex, I so wish I were in your camp. My goal is to get there.

    Nice to meet you, too, S.B.!

    Lauren, I don't have a BIL to blame, unfortunately (fortunately?). But I'm with ya on the self-control front!

    1. It was my pleasure, Daisy! Ask one awesome lady and get four golden girls tagging along for the ride. Quite a bargain. ;-)

      I was just thinking about all the alliteration opportunities for September last night. Super, Splendid, and yes, Sensational! GMTA :-)

  6. I've never seen so many Golden Girl references in one post.


  7. Another great Awesome August post.... I don't think I could write a first draft in 2 weeks even if I had the whole story outlined in detail. I'm neither a Rose nor a Blanche. Sadly, I'm more of a *sigh* Dorothy. ;-)

  8. A very entertaining and inspiring post - thank you :-)

  9. Thanks, Adam, Linda, and Diane, for reading!

    Adam, I am a walking GG encyclopedia. I should seriously consider making a board game or something.

    Linda, I don't think I'm a Rose or Blanche, either. Maybe a Sophia?

    Diane, you're welcome!