Writing Is Messy

Happy December! It’s the most exciting time of the year. And for me, it’s the messiest time of the year because I’m finishing up the first draft of the next Food Blogger Mystery. My goal when writing the first draft is to take what I’ve plotted and turn it into something that is readable and entertaining.


It’s also during this process that I decide which recipes to include in the book and I begin developing and testing them. So far, I’ve made the scones that will be included three times. Actually, four times if you count the time when I measured out too much milk and I didn’t realize until I’d mixed it into the dry ingredients. It was definitely a baking fail moment.

Back to the actual writing. It’s not unusual for there to be lots of question marks in place of words because while I was writing, I couldn’t come up with just the write word. It’s also pretty common to have sections highlighted because I need to refer back to my series bible or do some more research online. And it’s pretty typical that I’m short thousands of words. My first draft is very lean compared to my second draft. It’s during that draft that I fill in all the missing pieces and add in all the extras like a more vivid description or maybe a twist that I hadn’t previously thought about. I let my first draft sit for two weeks so that I can put some distance between me and the manuscript. This separation allows me to think about the first draft and lets my subconscious to do its thing so that when I return to the manuscript, I’m energized to dig in and I have some more content to add. So that when I’m done with the second draft, it’s all fluffed out and ready to go to my editor.

I’m looking forward to tackling the second draft and that will happen in January. Once I finish this current draft (and I’m so close to finishing it) and I will step away from it and focus on a new story idea along with the holiday season. Speaking of the holiday season, remember that books make great gifts. And the Stiletto Gang has so many books to choose from.

I think my June release, HOW THE MURDER CRUMBLES, would make a lovely gift for the reader in your life who loves their mysteries with a side of cookies.

I hope you have a wonderful holiday season and I look forward to catching up with you in January! Happy Holidays.




Debra Sennefelder is the author of the Food Blogger Mystery series and the Resale Boutique Mystery series.

She lives and writes in Connecticut. When she’s not writing, she enjoys baking, exercising and taking long walks with her Shih-Tzu, Connie.

You can keep in touch with Debra through her website, on Facebook and Instagram.


6 replies
  1. Donnell Ann Bell
    Donnell Ann Bell says:

    Oooh, Debra, I admire that you can leave blanks, question marks and save for later. When you write police procedure like I do, those blanks are critical. And it doesn’t help that I have such a perfectionist personality. That’s the real problem. You go girl on that first draft. It’s going to be beautiful come draft two!

  2. Lois Winston
    Lois Winston says:

    Debra, I’m a dyed-in-the-wool pantser who revises as I go. Like Donnell, I find it hard to leave blanks to fill in later. But writing is all about finding the process that works best for each of us, and you’ve obviously found yours. Happy holidays!

  3. Barb Eikmeier
    Barb Eikmeier says:

    I too leave blanks and yellow highlight anything I need to confirm, like spellings or hair color the last time a character appeared. It helps me to keep writing through that messy first draft. My daughter’s 6th grade teacher called it “sloppy copy”, Congrats and getting through your sloppy copy.

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