The Vomit Draft #ThrowbackThursday

In today’s #ThrowbackThursday, we travel back to April, 2017, when I took part in the #AtoZChallenge. For 26 days, I wrote 26 blogs, each starting with a sequential letter of the alphabet. “V” stood for the 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 an 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?

p.s.( Updated 2020) I now use TK to prefix any word I want to TKreplace. The letters T and K do not naturally occur together, so a quick word search will give me a list of TKwords I need to replace.

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.

original p.s. #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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