All week long, fearless authors have revealed excerpts from their sh*tty first drafts. We've seen scenes like Christmas sweaters the manuscript outgrew; scenes that didn't carry their weight; scenes that have been cut and reinserted and cut so many times they don't even bother unpacking their suitcases any more.
Sh*tty First Draft Week was a misnomer in many ways. For one thing, much of the so-called shitty material in first drafts isn't so shitty after all. In fact, sometimes a scene or chapter is just perfect in its original context—but when you change other parts of the story, the context flexes and morphs until that "perfect" scene or chapter doesn't even make sense any more.
In this respect, drafting a novel is a bit like cooking a pot of soup: you can't throw in one new ingredient without affecting the flavor of everything else in the pot.
Another reason Sh*tty First Draft Week is a misnomer is the word "first". What about second, third, fourth, and fifth drafts? INTERN remembers hearing a director say that for every minute in a play, his theatre troupe does an hour of rehearsal (or was it ten hours?) INTERN feels the same way about writing: for every word that makes it into the final draft there are at least three words discarded. That's 300,000 words of drafting for a 100,000 word novel. This ratio is different for everyone, but it speaks to the huge amount of exploring, delving, mistake-making, playing, and who-are-you-kidding that goes into a finished creative work.
So anyway. On to the shitty first draft contest!
To enter, all you have to do is post a short excerpt from your own sh*tty first draft in the comments of this post.
You don't need to tweet about the contest or put it on a t-shirt. You don't need to follow this blog. You don't need to take out a Sh*tty First Draft Week ad in your local newspaper.
Just paste your goddamn draft excerpt in the comments.
INTERN will randomly select three winners by assigning each commenter a number and then drawing the numbers out of a bowl.
INTERN will not be judging the entries on any axis whatsoever, so don't fret about whether your entry is too shitty/not shitty enough/etc—winning is a matter of luck!
INTERN will announce the winners on Monday, at which point winners can send iNTERN their contact information to claim their prizes.
One lucky winner will receive a first 50 pages manuscript critique by INTERN!
One lucky winner will receive a mysterious Revision Prize Pack!
One lucky winner will receive some twigs, bits of string, and perhaps a book or two!
OK, everyone! Ready to reveal your sh*tty drafts? As promised, INTERN will share a snippet of shitty draftery too.
INTERN's first draft snippet:
This is the story of a girl who was pregnant with a cat. The cat lounged inside her, lapping at sunlight, until the girl awoke in pain one morning; the cat was dragging its claws all the way out.
This is the story of a girl who gave birth to a spider. Her belly swelled up so that people thought she had twins, triplets, quintuplets. But no; all that happened when she went into labor was a very tiny black spider crawled out. After hours of pushing, a tiny black spider. After all that blood, a tiny black spider. After all those months of eating, a tiny black spider. It crawled away on quick spider legs and though she called for it the girl never saw it again.
This is the story of a girl who gave birth to a rat...
etc. etc. etc.
Explanation: INTERN often feels daunted by first drafts, so she'll use poetic devices like repetition to make things "easy" until she hits on an idea she wants to follow. For INTERN, drafts are full of experiments like this that help INTERN discover who her characters are and what they want to say.
So what's your sh*tty first draft about? To the comments!