Monday, May 24, 2010


“The first draft of everything is…”

A quote by Ernest Hemingway. How do you think his quote ended?

It wasn’t with the word “perfect.”

A few years ago, I sat down to write my first novel. I wrote the first chapter, and then sent it out to my newfound online critique group through ACFW. I received it back, basically painted in red.

Disappointed in myself, I scratched the whole first chapter and started over. I let my husband read it. I watched his face as he read every line. He didn’t look too enthusiastic about the chapter. I can’t remember exactly what he said after he finished judging my work, but it wasn’t, “Great work honey! It’s perfect!” His remarks were something opposite, but ended with “Don’t give up.” Encouraging, right?

Disappointed in myself again, I scratched the first chapter and started over. I was getting no where fast, and losing my creativity in the process. Afraid to type a word on the page, like playing the Operation game, I couldn’t come up with one perfect word.

I couldn’t keep sending my critique group a first chapter, so I had to do something. I finally realized that a junky chapter was better than no chapter. From then on, after receiving my critiqued chapters in red, I wouldn’t allow myself to start over.

I researched online, to help guide me through that first draft so that I wouldn’t be writing one novel for ten years. The best information I found was through Randy Ingermanson’s “Snowflake Method.”

His method gave me a step-by-step process to get me past the first chapter. The great thing about the Snowflake Method is that it works for seat-of-the-pants writers (like me) and for those writers who like to outline everything first.

To see a summary of how the Snowflake works, go online to:

I can’t write what Hemingway’s quote ended with, but it was a synonym of “junk.”

So, if you’re struggling with that first draft:

Take that creative mind God gave you, get Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method, and finish your beautiful work of art.


  1. Bleeding red ink ... sounds familiar!

    Glad you hung in there, M!

    One of my English profs in college said we just had to get black ink on white paper. Then we could do something with it.