Where Ladybugs Roar

Confessions and Passions of a Compulsive Writer

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

There is Now a Level Zero...

For those who don't recognize the title of this post, it's from Kung Fu Panda. Po wants to start on level zero with his training, and Master Shifu says there is no level zero. Then, Po gets his panda tail kicked by the practice equipment and Master Shifu says, "There is now a level zero."

So, I finished my rough draft of Sentinel's Run last night... uhhh... this morning after a five hour writing jag that went until three in the morning. (It was crazy and Mt. Dew-fueled and my husband caught me typing the last sentence at 3 a.m. and said, "You're still up??? You're not supposed to be up!!!" Yeah, it was crazy, but I was on a roll.)

Normally, and my betas can back me up on this, I don't write rough drafts really. My first drafts are typically fully-realized and clean. (I do revise as I write so that's part of it. Also, my OCD keeps my brain at attention constantly for typos.) They're not final drafts by any means, but they're typically not that rough.

The world in Sentinel's Run is more complex, though, and I've stumbled across a bunch of continuity errors I need to work through. So, while it's done... it's not really done. I'm looking at a genuine rough draft. It's killing me. *shakes manuscript* It's a level zero! Okay, maybe not that bad.... I am a little surprised at how many more traps there are for continuity or contradiction issues when you're dealing with a dystopian world. As my world fleshed out throughout the story I noticed that I'd need to explain things and really establish the rules of my world and make sure I don't stray from them.

A lot of it revolves around non-human characters that I've established. I played fast and loose with some of the rules that I set down for the machines, and I need to go fix that. If you have non-human characters... you know... they have their own motivations and responses and you have to stick to that or give a good reason why you're not. I got a bit sketchy at points. Oy. Bad Wendy.

So, yay... I finished... but I didn't. I also need to work on Mori's voice and decide on some of the intricacies in Coby's speech patterns too, but that might be a further down revision. Then, I'll send it to the three betas I promised it to, and I'll shelve it for six months. (I always have shelved my manuscripts for this long... so that I can get perspective before doing a serious revision on them. I "have" done this anyway, but it's something that might change I suppose with Sarah's involvement in my career.)

It's a weird sort of anticlimactic feeling to finish a level zero manuscript. I don't like it. There's not the adrenalin rush of other manuscripts where I can immediately send it off to betas or read a "finished" product and give myself mental high-fives. On the other hand, I really, really, really like this story. I think once I work out some of these kinks it'll be my best manuscript yet, but we'll see.

*eyes level zero*

I hope.

I also got my revision notes from Sarah for the SECRETS version for the film agent from my agency, so that goes onto the calendar for me to complete this summer. It should have plenty more cowbell... even some violent cowbell... by the time I'm done with it. *punches sky* Violent cowbell!

In non-writing news, my kids' summer schedule is filling up. This morning we went to a reptile display and then to the beach. Tomorrow is yoga, a picnic, and the zoo. Thursday is... something... and so it goes. We'll have to take days off every so often so my son can decompress. Unfortunately, my kids tend to fill my life with noise--happy noise--bickering noise--tv--the computer--their DSs--noise, noise, noise, and I have a hard time writing during the day with background noise. So, I see many Mt. Dew-fueled writing sessions at night in my future. My tolerance of noise is so low right now that even my phone's alerts are making me snarl.

Summer is fun. Loads of fun. Really.


  1. Congrats on finishing the draft, regardless of the level!

    I am a huge proponent of letting a ms sit so I can get distance. But I must say, I have a hard time getting back into it when the time comes. Do you do anything special after those 6 months to help you jump back in?

  2. You're creating an entire world this time, of course it's hard! But I'm also sure it's awesome and my new reader and I are looking forward to seeing it post-revision. (Or before of you want help with that. You know my address and it is_not_ pestering to send me things. I actually enjoy being able to help. :)

  3. *backs Wendy up on this*

    As one of Wendy's many beta-readers I can bear witness to the fact that Wendy's first drafts are never "rough" drafts. Not by a long shot. Typo-free and a world that makes sense, unlike my clumsy rough drafts!!

    Congrats on finishing the first draft, and I seriously doubt it's a level zero. At the very least it's a .5 I'm sure, hee! :P

  4. Vicki, I don't have anything in particular, and sometimes it doesn't work out, and I set it aside again.

    Andy, *cue whining voice* but it's soooooooo hard. *end whining voice* Actually, I think I dealt with most of it... it was really mostly in the beginning before the world settled into my brain. I'm about to do my Kindle revision of it. Yay!!! Progress!

    Diana, okay... maybe it was a .319 and not a complete zero. It's now at a first draft level for me, and I'm much, much, much, much happier. Phew.