Tag Archive for: first drafts

Eintopf or how a one-pot soup is like writing a first draft

Judy Penz Sheluk

My mother was raised in a time when you didn’t waste anything: scraps of fabric left over from sewing or hemming a pair of pants, odd buttons and pieces of lace or ribbon, these went to making clothes for my Barbie (actually I had a Midge, never have been a conformist, but I digress).

When I was a kid, Fridays were grocery shopping day, probably because that’s the day my father got paid. That meant Thursday was Eintopf day (literally translated to One Pot from German). Nothing leftover in the refrigerator was spared: a chicken leg, some broccoli that was heading into yellow-green territory, a eye-sprouting potato, even the [raw] turnip my dad and I had managed to avoid eating through the week—it all went into the pot for soup. Sometimes those soups were amazingly delicious; other times…well, let’s just say turnip does not belong in soup.

Recently, while working on the first draft of the third book in my Marketville Mystery series, I got to thinking how much a first draft is like Eintopf. You toss all your ingredients (ideas) in the pot (page) and keep on stirring (typing), hoping it will taste good (read well). And the stuff that doesn’t (turnips) finds it’s way into yet another folder filled with bits and bites of stuff that didn’t get used…this time.

What can I say? I am my mother’s daughter. And yes, I still make Eintopf. But I never add turnips.

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Getting through the first draft

by Maria Geraci

You know how I know I’m excited about starting a new book? I begin writing at all sorts of strange hours. And by strange hours, I mean 2 a.m or 4 a.m or maybe even in the middle of cooking dinner which can create all sorts of problems if one wants their dinner to not be burned to a crackly crunch (as Mike Geraci and I generally prefer ours not to be).

I’ll be honest, this sort of shake up to my routine is not only expected, it’s highly desired. Nothing is worse to me as a writer than to sit at my computer forcing myself to come up with something to put on the page. I have plenty of stuff I could be doing instead.

Multi-pubbed and ultra-famous author Nora Roberts is generally credited with the quote “…just get the story down.” And that’s exactly what I do.I get that first draft done in snippets, sometimes writing for as little as five minutes because inspiration can come at the oddest moments (in the shower, while driving a car, standing in the grocery line) which means I have to be creative about the way I write.

The other day while I was waiting at the deli to order lunch meat, a brilliant (yes, brilliant!) line of dialogue came to me and I had no paper or pen. So I whipped out my iPhone and began typing dialogue in my Notes app. I was so engrossed that I completely missed hearing my number called. I mumbled a quick apology and the clerk took my order, but I have to wonder what she would have thought if I’d said, “Sorry, I was writing my novel!”  I’m sure that would have garnered me some strange looks but I wouldn’t have cared. Writing the first draft is like inching your way on your belly through the trenches. You get to the finish line any way you can.