Vomit Draft, the Letter “V” in Today’s AtoZChallenge

The object is to turn off the internal editor, write fast, and throw up all over the page (or screen). Clean up the mess later.

In today’s AtoZChallenge, the letter “V” stands for Vomit Draft

The object of the vomit draft is to turn off the internal editor, write fast, and throw up all over the page (or screen). Clean up the mess later.My old critique group—and others, as I’ve heard this term since—called the first draft the vomit draft. The object is to turn off the internal editor, write fast, and throw up all over the page (or screen). Clean up the mess later.

I’m a firm supporter of the vomit draft. I wrote my last two books using this method. Of course, I wrote them as NaNo books (one officially, one on my own). There’s no choice but to write fast and hard, creating a vomit draft.

Here are some bad examples:

XXX1, man from xxplace, Had rolled through the village the day before and taken a room at the inn.

“He’s not here to visit me but XX1, staying at the inn.” She did some bread/sourdough starter thing xxx.
Colin laughed. “Ye never could lie.”
Rosewynn did some other bread dough thing xxx.

Colin noticed his glance/attention/other.

(What about her basket?)

At the top*, he caught hold of the top* board

My unofficial rules of the vomit draft:

  • If you don’t know what word to use (because who has time for thesaurus. com?) use the all-purpose XXX
  • If you have multiple people to name, call them XXX1, XXX2 and so on
  • Alternately, (and to build a wee bit of word count), use a string of words/descriptions/other
  • The liberal use of parenthesis are encouraged. (insert love scene here) (he should be more angry. His mother didn’t believe in him. Show more anger here).
  • Parenthesis can also be used for a quick editorial content. (What about her basket? Did she climb the stairs with it? Pitch it overboard? Throw it to the floor?
  • If you have chosen an adequate word, but know there’s another, better one knocking around in your brain*, use a asterisk to indicate you should have been smarter at the time.
  • Asterisks are good for word* echoes, when you repeatedly use the same word* while searching for a better word*
  • I also use smaller font if I’m not sure I want to keep a phrase (again, word count is important. Never delete or backspace. Never surrender). On a Mac, highlight the phrase and use Command and the minus key to minimize it.

Mostly, I use XXX to show the section needs work.

The vomit draft is the most effective way for me to write. I’m always afraid I’ll lose inspiration, or a brighter, shinier idea will emerge.

How do you write your first draft?

Tomorrow’s AtoZChallenge will be about the letter “W”.

#AtoZChallenge is a blogging challenge that takes place in the month of April.

#AtoZChallenge is a blogging challenge

Until then, blessings,


If you’d like to continue reading my entries in the AtoZChallenge* and to receive my blog posts, please use the entry form to the right. Also sign up for my newsletter, and you’ll receive a FREE copy of my short story, Mr. Right, Mr. Wrong, Mr. Alien.

If you know of someone who would enjoy learning more about vomit drafts, use the buttons on the left to share this post. Thank you.

*#AtoZChallenge is a blogging challenge that takes place in April (except on Sundays). Participants blog every day around a theme of their choosing, in alphabetical order. Throughout the month of April, I’ll share tips, links, and insights I’ve learned in my writing career



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7 Comments, RSS

  1. Reema D'souza April 26, 2017 @ 9:48 am

    I do this too! I just write whatever comes to my mind that moment without giving a lot of thought to details like name of the characters and the like. Once I am done, I go back and make it better. It works for me.

  2. Geethica Mehra April 26, 2017 @ 10:14 am

    Well, my first draft was like a diary entry. Pure emotions that was not even edited.

  3. admin April 26, 2017 @ 10:35 am

    Yes! I do not like to lose the bright light of inspiration. I write from an outline, but do not stop to fill in every detail. Details are for future drafts. Thanks for visiting.

  4. admin April 26, 2017 @ 10:35 am

    First drafts are to get the ideas down. Refine them later. Thanks for visiting.

  5. Deepa April 26, 2017 @ 12:54 pm

    I also write a draft first and then edit it twice or thrice. Good advice Cheryl.

  6. Peggy Larkin April 28, 2017 @ 3:51 pm

    Love this concept. I’ve been trying to wrote without editing (as Jenny Trout suggested, in the blog post I followed to this post, haha) but the codes/asterisks are a great idea for keeping even the writing going fast. Thanks!

  7. admin April 28, 2017 @ 4:46 pm

    Yeah! Big shout out to Jen and her followers. I knew her when, taught her everything she knows. 🙂
    I’m glad I can help. (Closing your eyes and listening to the same music helps, too, if I didn’t mention it. It trains your brain that, “Hey, it’s writing time, get to work). Good luck!

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