Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Rachael Brimble Visits.

Thursday June 7, 2012

As a writer lucky enough to be able to work full-time around her two kids, husband and dog, I often feel guilty about being at home all day. What are people thinking about me? Do they think I sit around the house doing nothing? Why isn’t my house spotlessly clean (because believe me, it isn’t!!)?

It is only recently that these negative thoughts were banished (hopefully!) forever. The moment the email dropped into my inbox from my agent telling me Harlequin Superromance wanted to publish my first romantic suspense since 2008, I felt a weight lift. The tears came as the news hit me for six in SO many ways. Most of all, it hit me that I have the potential to really succeed at what I love doing most in the world…writing!

The sad truth is writing NEVER gets easier! Self-confidence in your work is, for most of us, an endless goal. With each book, I hope this will be the one to write itself. I’ll sit back and the characters will be so clear in my head I can hear them, the plot will be formulated and entirely error free, I will merely be my novel’s secretary taking dictation.

This might happen for a sentence, a paragraph—hey, even an entire scene! But the whole book? Nah, never gonna happen…

Before all you aspiring writers out there, pick up your laptops and throw them through the window, there’s a reason I am sharing this doom and gloom. Perseverance, belief, tenacity and skin thicker than an elephant’s rump is what is needed for you to have any chance of making it in the business. End of.

If someone would have told me that at the very beginning, I probably could have saved myself a lot of blood, sweat and tears. I am passing on this experience because I want to save you from having to do the same.

Let me introduce you to the freedom of the ‘crappy first draft’. Repeat after me, “I give myself permission to write the crappiest manuscript ever from start to finish.” Of course, draft two is where the real hard work begins – nothing free in this game ;)

But this method really works! Well, at least for me it does. Without the pressure of getting the characters, the setting, the plot and everything else perfect first time round, it releases my creativity AND output. People often ask me on Twitter how I manage such a high daily word count (I average 2,000 words per day) when I have school age kids. It is possible when you are not agonizing over every word and sentence.

Draft two is also a largely easier process than you might imagine – think about it, a full page can be edited, a blank page can’t.

So? What do you think? Could you give the ‘crappy draft’ method a try? What’s your process?

I’d love to hear from you!

Rachel’s latest release is Paying The Piper, available now from Lyrical Press. Here’s the blurb and buy link:

Nightclub manager, Grace Butler is on a mission to buy the pub where her mother’s ashes are scattered – except the vendor wants to sell to anyone but her. And the vendor happens to be her father…with a secret Grace will do anything to uncover.

Social worker and all-round good guy, Jimmy Betts needs cash to buy a house for three special kids before their care home closes. In a desperate bid for cash, he agrees to a one-time ‘job’ for bad-man Karl Butler. But in a sudden turn of events, Jimmy finds himself employed by Karl’s beautiful, funny and incredibly sexy daughter, Grace.

Their lives are so different except for one unifying thread – they are both trying to escape the binds of their tyrannical fathers. But is the key to their liberty each other?

Rachel’s Links:
Twitter: @rachelbrimble


  1. Rachael, Thank you for being here today.

    I've tried so hard to do the crappie first draft and got as far as 25K and then my internal editor stops me. I think the problem is, atleast for me, is I need to know my characters better. Next book I'm going to really work on character charts before starting the crappie first draft.

  2. I'm going to give your crappy 1st draft idea a go, Rachel! And work on developing a thicker hide - I already have an elephant's rump! Hehe! But the character sheets are done and so is about a third of the synopsis - does that mean I'm cheating?!

    And all this rain in the UK is NOT helping matters. Bored children seem to surround me! xxx

  3. Hi Autumn! Thanks for having me here today :)

    Hi Rachel, (waving madly!)

    That's not cheating at all - it sounds like a damn fine start to me! Listen to you and your elephant's rump - the perfect little dynamo you are, mrs! Loads of sympathy for you and these school holidays - my two are driving me loopy. I have been reaching for the wine by 6pm every night, lol!

    I feel a little hypocritical with this post today as I have had a nightmare writing day - I am 60% through my work in progress and it's tough to keep going. I can't figure out my heroine despite following my own steps, lol!

    R x

  4. Rachel - thanks for your honesty. I often want to throttle authors who do workshops and say, "if you do this, this and this, the book will write itself" Bull hockey! Not gonna happen. Only an author's hard work writes the books.

    Ugly duckling first drafts turn into beautiful swans by draft 3 or 4 or 5...
    you catch my drift. Congratulations on your latest sale!

  5. Hello Rachael! *Beth waving. Maybe I should stop waiting for books to write themselves and get on with my current projects. Or the elves might do it for me in the night...Congrats on your perseverance! You are an inspiration.

  6. Thank you Rachel. I'm going back to finish this first draft with a crappy ending. It's a huge sense of freedom. I've been waiting to move on to rewrites and now I can get there faster.

  7. Good morning, ladies!

    I promise I wasn't ignoring you yesterday - the time difference between the states and the UK is a real pain on these blog visits!

    I think honesty is the only way to go in this world, Lynne - there is no such thing as a 'perfect writing method'. Why? Because each time we delve into a story, the characters form minds of their own. Well, mine do anyway. Then it's a case of me trying to work out what they want, why they want it and when. My method is a good start if nothing else!

    Hi Beth! I'm an inspiration to you?? It's the other way round from where i'm standing. LOVE your books :)

    Hi Sandra, go for it! If you're excited about the rewrites, you know deep down you're onto a winner! That excitement is telling you that you've got something right - good luck!

    R x

  8. Thank you, Rachael for being my guest and thank you to all who stopped by.

  9. For me, it never gets easier. I'm also waiting on that one story that will write itself. In the mean time I'll keep rolling along. My first drafts are handwritten in a notebook, generally with a good quality, heavy pen as I feel the weight helps me to not lean on the paper. It is always a mess of scribbles, starred lines I'm not sure of, and notes. The second draft is when I type it up, adding and subtracting all the "what was I thinking?" passages. The third draft is where the serious editing begins.

  10. Great to meet you, Carol! The more I talk to writers, the more I realize how difficult this darn compulsion to write is - BUT we keep going back for more. I truly believe you have to be mad to do what we do, lol!

    R x

  11. I'm late answering this one Rachel, because as Autumn points out so well in her Friday blog I'm not using my lists very well. Like yesterday when your post went out, Rachel, I was totally focused on a re-read (again/groan) of a ms I wanted to get out today to an editor. No blogs get read on days like that. Next up i am going to do a 'crappy' first draft just for the hell of it!