When I first started writing for more than just my amusement, the biggest problem I had was that when I would finish the first draft of something I would look back at it and think, this is garbage. They story is good, but the writing is garbage. One day I read a quote by Ernest Hemmingway that went something like, “You don’t write a story, you rewrite it.” Since then I haven’t worried about the first draft. I use the left brain/right brain system.
When I write my first draft, I don’t worry about grammar or sentence structure. I am creating. I want the basics. I’m using my right brain trying to get a rough story out there, getting the characters right in my head. I’m not a wordsmith at this point. That will come later in the rewrites. In the rewrites I slow down. I tear each paragraph apart. Am I starting too many sentences the same? Am I using was too many times. The editor of my first book hated the word was. She suggested I replace all of them. I find my writing has become stronger since I have started paying attention to this.
Here is a sample of the book I’m working on in rough draft form:

Kari took a piece of paper out of her brief case. “I’m going to read you your Miranda       Warning. I want you to listen very carefully.”
“I already know my rights,” Fitzgerald said.
“I’m going to read it to you anyway.”
Fitzgerald shrugged.
When she was finished, she wrote the time down on the piece of paper. “Do you understand your rights as I explained them to you?”
“I understood them before you read them to me.”
She slid the piece of paper across the desk to Fitzgerald. “Please sign at the bottom that you have been read your rights and understand them.”
“Aren’t you recording this?”
“Then why do I need to sign it? It’s already recorded,” Fitzgerald said.
Kari felt her frustration rise. “Don’t be difficult.”
“I’m not trying to be difficult,” Fitzgerald said. “I just don’t know why we have to repeat everything. That’s the trouble with government bureaucracy, too much repetition.”
Kari jerked the paper away from him. “Fine, if you don’t want to sign it you don’t have too.”
“I never said I wouldn’t sign it. I just wanted to know why?” Fitzgerald said. “Give me it. I’ll sign it.”
She pushed the paper back to him and he signed it and slid it back to her.
“Now, Mr. Fitzgerald, would you like an attorney?”
“Do I need an attorney?”
“That’s up to you.”
“How long do I have to decide?”
“We are going to start asking the questions now.”
“Without an attorney present?” Fitzgerald asked.
“Do you want an attorney?”
“Do I need an attorney?”
Kari felt her frustration reach its boiling point. When she spoke she had all she could do to keep from screaming at him. “I am tired of playing these games Mr. Fitzgerald,” she said slowly.
“What games would those be Agent Henderson?” He leaned across the desk toward her. “The ones where you cuff me behind my back and throw me in the back of a squad car without telling me what this is all about to try and intimidate me? Are those the games you’re tired of?”
Kari felt her face blush and turned away to try and hide it.

Okay it is rough I admit. When my left brain goes to work, it’ll smooth out. A little more interior dialogue will be added. More description. Definitely get rid of that was before finished. Maybe Fitzgerald won’t be so much of a wise guy, but I like Fitzgerald as a wise guy. Maybe he’ll be more of a wise guy. If I can talk my left brain into it.






About thewritingdeputy

Joel Jurrens was a deputy sheriff for 26 years until he retired in 2013. He has published three novels: In The Sticks, Graves of His Personal Liking and County Ops: The Vengeance of Gable Fitzgerald. He tries to keep his blog light and humorous and sometimes downright silly.
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  1. jackkastor says:

    I wish I could do that whole, ‘write first, edit later’ thing. I just can’t though. The idea that there might be a grammar mistake as I go, or that I’ll have repeated something, or anything at all might not be exactly as I like it, just drives me nuts. Consequently, it take me bloody ages to write anything.

    I like the speed of your dialogue. Crisp, concise, and quick. Really good cut-and-thrust, with characterization to boot. No idea why, but I imagined Fitzgerald as being played by Steve Buscemi. Weird.

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