The Drafting Twilight Zone: Tips for getting it out and over

So you’ve unlocked your writing with your key of imagination and as you move through it you fall through to a dimension of sentence structures; a dimension of grammatical woes; a dimension of endless prose. You’ve moved into a novel with multiple character development and plot twists. You’ve just crossed over into the Drafting Twilight Zone.

Yep. The story of my life right now. Even though I feel like I’m so close to finishing the first draft of my next book, I can’t stop going back and wanting to add subplots and gradual detail. All stuff that I don’t even know you guys need but I feel is necessary.

In hopes of getting out to this whack ass drafting dimension of insanity, I took some time to see how the pros have handled this.

Try Stephen King’s technique that he shared in On Writing, which he learned back in high school. It’s a simple formula:

2nd draft = 1st draft – 10%

So he states that,

“Even today, I will aim for a second-draft length of thirty-six hundred words if the draft of a novel runs three hundred and fifty thousand words, I’ll try my damndest to produce a second draft of no more than three hundred and fifteen thousand … three hundred, if possible. Usually it is possible. What the Formula taught me is that every story and novel is collapsible to some degree.”

Great words. But this is for the second draft, which I’m kind of in but not totally. So then I found pretty nifty advice from Sarah Waters.

“Don’t panic. Midway through writing a novel, I have regularly experienced moments of bowel-curdling terror, as I contemplate the drivel on the screen before me and see beyond it, in quick succession, the derisive reviews, the friends’ embarrassment, the failing career, the dwindling income, the repossessed house, the divorce . . . Working doggedly on through crises like these, however, has always got me there in the end. Leaving the desk for a while can help. Talking the problem through can help me recall what I was trying to achieve before I got stuck. Going for a long walk almost always gets me thinking about my manuscript in a slightly new way. And if all else fails, there’s prayer. St Francis de Sales, the patron saint of writers, has often helped me out in a crisis. If you want to spread your net more widely, you could try appealing to Calliope, the muse of epic poetry, too.”

Good advice but a bit vague. Then I ran into Neil Gaiman’s words, who’s the author of American Gods—a novel and show that I just devoured. He gives me exactly what I needed, and wanted, to hear.

“The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you’re allowed to do whatever you like. (That may be a rule for life as well as for writing. But it’s definitely true for writing.) So write your story as it needs to be written. Write it honestly, and tell it as best you can. I’m not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter.”

So guys, it seems that the only way out of the “Drafting Twilight Zone” is through. Full steam ahead bishes! My hope is that once I’ve finally finished this process, an ingeniously articulated masterpiece is created for yout reading delight. Here goes nothing.

As I glue myself to my writing chair, focused on finally knocking this out, be sure to check out my free short story series on this blog. Catch up. Don’t be lame. Friday is always a great day to read.

DNC’s Short Story Series Presents: “Complicated


DNC’s Short Story Series Presents: “Complicated” – Chapter Two: Skye

Wait before you begin, make sure you’re caught up…

Chapter 1: Tina

***********FOR MATURE AUDIENCES ONLY********



Thank God for another day. The sun’s kiss was my second favorite kiss to wake up to; Mason’s was the first. His steamy breath stroked the back of my neck and I couldn’t wait to turn over.

“Good morning.” Our morning greeting reminds me that I’ve made it through yesterday’s storm stronger. Mason is a blessing. Kind. Loving. Forgiving. More than I ever thought any man could be.

No other man that I’ve ever met before could hold a light to him. The sparkle of our wedding rings, which sit on his nightstand, brought a twinkle to my eye. That joyous twinkle that was created by and for the man behind my amazing universe.

“How are you feeling?” He asked.

“Nervous but ready.” Today is the day I face a demon from long ago and with my king by my side, I know I’m ready for this battle.

“You’re doing the right thing.” His soft lips kiss my forehead and I knew immediately that he’s right.

“I hope so. At least for AJ’s sake.”

Today is the day that Alexander Jeremy, my only son, meets his father. I’ve prayed for years that this moment wasn’t true or even needed, but it is. I could say that I wish I’d never met his father but then I wouldn’t have this incredible young boy as my child.

Unfortunately, I can’t call him a love child because it was nothing but lust and vulnerability in the moment. And I would never call him a mistake or regret because the joy he places on my heart is pure and fulfilling.

I’ll just call him my rainbow; the reflection of one of God’s most beautiful phenomena after a storm finally passes.

Raising him has changed my life and my relationships. I’ve embraced my flaws openly and honestly. The moment the test came back positive, I told Mason that it may or may not be his.

No man is ever ready for that news but we were both on our own shit. He was dipping and dabbing as he pleased and I was lonely and longing for him. So, I found comfort in a place I shouldn’t have been. A place that I knew was off limits, but it was a place with an open door.

Even though I thought he could be married, and even though I was madly in love with Mason, I let my human desires decide my next steps, not my heart or brain. Just for a moment, I wanted to feel wanted. Whether it was real or not, I was OK with wearing a mask through all the heartache. This was only a Band-Aid destined to be ripped off at some point. And it was.

Telling Mason was the easy part, watching him breakdown was the hardest. I can’t lie though; it felt good to see him feel something. He seemed so cold to me during this time, but after hearing this news, he seemed to come back to life. Much like the shock to a quiet heart. He began to come back to me, telling me his wrong turns and mine too. I agreed wholeheartedly.

This honest news sparked something in him that was new. He became nurturing and calm. Even with doubt racing through his head, he openly embraced a child that he had no real clue whether his or another man’s blood ran through their vein. What a gift from God.

Ironically, I ended up with two blessing shining brightly against a dark moment of lust. Now, it was time for me to step out of their light and face my own shadow. Time to slay this demon.

“What time are you going over there?” Manson jumps, getting ready for his morning run.

“He said breakfast should be ready around 9 a.m. But…” my voice tappers off. I drop my head searching for the courage to talk through my thoughts but I let my weakness show. “I’m not sure I can do this.” Bees, not butterflies, bumble around my belly. They are as confused about my step as I am.

Mason’s phone buzzes.

“Babe you got this. This is the piece of the puzzle you have to straighten out for our boy. And did you hear what I said…our boy! Which means, when this is all over, I will be here waiting for you to get home.” His warm words put the bees to bed.

“Hey, let me grab this. It’s Kinsley.” He grabs his phone and walks into the bathroom.

“Tell her I said ‘hey.’” Kinsley is Mason’s little sister. I’m sure she just got a whiff of the news and I know she isn’t happy. We got this though. She may want to beat my ass now, but in a day or so, we’ll be back to loving each other like before.

Walking to the closet, I hear the sweetest voice.

“Mommy.” AJ is up. Time to go pick out the perfect outfit for him to meet his biological daddy.