WIP – My First Reading


How Does Your WIP Grow?

My First Reading

23Seventy-nine days.

Halloween. Thanksgiving. Christmas.

Butterflies swirled as I stared at an entire pack of paper. My title page boldly proclaimed Scepter’s Sacrifice. Was it junk, as Hemingway prophesied all first drafts to be? Did it do Deheya justice? Could I just upload it to Amazon and slap $3.99 on it?

Not exactly. Not yet. If I wanted to embarrass myself.

Did I like it well enough to finish it?


When I was Christmas shopping, I picked up printer paper. I thought about printer cartridges and decided to pass. Christmas loomed. I plunged into wrapping presents, trimming trees, cooking, being with my family. At odd moments, I wondered what I would think. I didn’t dare tell my family and friends.

Two days after Christmas, I woke up. Tummy knotted up, I got up. Deciding I couldn’t endure another day, I decided to print it out. I battled Scrivener before getting my WIP to compile. After manually formatting, I finally had it ready. I’d indented paragraphs, selected single line spacing, and took out line feeds between paragraphs.

Holding my breath, almost hoping my printer would die, I hit PRINT. As page after page came out, I suspected I’d picked non-editor friendly options. When my printer cartridge ran out, I sighed in relief. I went to Walmart, twice. I went back to double spacing between lines, and page breaks between scenes. Several hours later, I had 469 pages. My pages.

How-to-write-books book recommended first readings without stopping. I think I had more pages than they envisioned. I started after lunch on Saturday. I finished Monday afternoon. When I wrote my draft, I ran my spell checker. I also used the Hemingway App, flagged adverbs, passive verbs, complicated and complex sentences. Fixing mistakes usually took me about fifteen minutes. My reward? I wasn’t pulled out of my reading experience by those distractions.

Not quite sure what to do, I started reading my hardcopy. Had I been using my computer, I would have begun rewriting, instead of reading. I began using parentheses. When I found remarkable words, sentences or paragraphs I enclosed them. If I wasn’t in love, I used question marks. If I wanted different words, I wrote them in. If I wanted to move it, I drew arrows.

I wrote ideas and other reactions in my margins. My reader’s reaction ranged from loving to hating text. I laughed, cried, gagged and felt lumps of pride. I wrote everything down.

I liked my story. I know I can make it better. I’m sure my new journey will be as surprising as writing my first draft. I will write down my impressions as I go.

17 thoughts on “WIP – My First Reading

  1. Pingback: Silent’s January Jumble | Simply Silent

  2. Hey Sneaky Slippers,

    While trawling the Web on other matters entirely, I found your blog. I hope your writing is going well. For me, yours has been one of the most exciting and inspiring journeys in writing self-education I have been privileged to watch. Please accept my best wishes for the continuing development of your present project. My email should be attached to this message, and you are welcome to poke me for chat if you choose. ๐Ÿ™‚

    — Ruvvage

    • Mein Gott – Ruv!

      Scribophile is not the same without you. Every so often I trip across one of your old posts and lament that I no longer have the ability to PM you for clarification. My themecraft and loglines will likely never recover!

      I hope all is going well in your endeavours, and the weather wherever you are is not so horrendously hot as it is here.

      Thank you for all your help over the years,

      Gabriel Vossen

  3. Ruv was wonderful. I wish he would come back to Scribophile and teach us more. He left while I was in mourning for a family member and I could not talk to him on Scrib at the time.

    Everything I am as a writer began with Ruv.

    Many of us miss him daily.

    • He certainly was. While I wouldn’t presume to speak on his behalf, and I truly have no idea of the circumstances surrounding his departure, part of me does wonder if the amount of dependence and appreciation of his advice partly drove him away. I know that I was getting in contact with him by PM or writing up forum threads which got 500+ word replies at least once a week – it must have been enormously tiring.

      As you say though, and like many others, I owe him a great deal as a writer and miss his intelligence and insight terribly. If I am ever published his nom de plume will definitely appear in the acknowledgementsโ€”perhaps one day he may even pick it up at random and notice.


  4. Hey guys,

    Thank you for your kind notes. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Lawrence Hollis @ Scrib has my email details if you need them. We’re currently cooking up a little test project on Storium together.

    If you’d like to poke me about any story design issues, please free to get them from him (I’ll let him know he’s welcome to share with you.)

    Best wishes,


    • It’s great to hear from you, Ruv. I’ll definitely give Lawrence a bell.

      Symplysilent – I too have a small homage in the form of a “Professor Abard”. He started as an “Abelard” but I decided it was too good an opportunity to pass up.

      I realise that I haven’t commented on the post itself, which seems very rude, so I will offer belated congratulations on getting through your first readingโ€”and perhaps more importantly, getting through your first draft! That’s an achievement in itself, and one that I have managed only once with a horrendously flawed manuscript. I’ve followed your blog (the page about your learning journey will no doubt prove useful), and I look forward to perusing more of your posts.


  5. Actually, SneakySlippers, you may have my email in your comment attributions, since I’m obliged to fill that in before posting a comment — if you do, please feel free to avail yourself, and to send to Gabriel also. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. That’s neat!

    In a similar vein, I’ve taken to composing music as part of the character/story design process. It works for me because:

    a) I’m more audio than visual;
    b) I have too many musical instruments already, and too few excuses to play them;
    c) Using sound-samples, synths and sequencing, it’s not hard to get sounds of instruments I either don’t possess (like a hurdy-gurdy) or couldn’t possibly play (like Peruvian nose-flute); and
    d) While I can design story analytically as you know, it’s near-impossible for me to do that with improvised music. So creating music in the design process forces me to get all whimsical on my character’s butt — thus surprising myself, and the Gods of Good Taste at the same time.

    It turns out that Lawrence and I have a mutual love of blues music, so I thought I’d do up some theme-music to our forthcoming toy Storium project, set in New Orleans. I’ll post you a link when it’s under way. ๐Ÿ™‚

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