Swoon Author Sandy Hall's First Draft Report: Third Time's the Charm
I’m not going to lie to you, I love first drafts. I have a ton of ideas and I could probably write a first draft every month of the year if I had the time, and the focus. These first drafts would be terrible and I would never let anyone read them and they would just flounder on my computer because I’d have no time to edit them, seeing as how I’d have to move onto the next month’s first draft. But I could do it. (Until I burnt out creatively and spent the following year just watching episodes of ER while playing pointless games on my phone.)
Having said all of this, it shouldn’t surprise you that The Shortest Distance Between Love and Hate had three first drafts.
The first one I wrote back in August of 2017. It was sort of similar to the end product, in that it took place at a college and the two characters hated each other, but that’s pretty much where the similarities end. The characters were named Harry and Tru, they knew each other from high school and somehow ended up living on the same floor at college. The problem with that draft was that I never could get a solid footing on why they hated each other. I could never create the right amount of conflict between them.
I wrote another draft in November of 2017. The characters in that one were named Archie and Tru (I can’t remember why I changed Harry’s name to Archie, but whatever.) And it didn’t take place at college. It took place at summer camp. AND IT WAS A MESS. Archie and Tru hated each other, but the hate wasn’t rooted in anything concrete, the conflict was juvenile at best. So I chalked it up to another draft that didn’t work. The only reason I even consider it one of my “first” drafts of The Shortest Distance… is because I lifted a couple of the scenes to use in my final first draft.
In February of 2018, I decided that what I needed for this enemies-to-lovers book to succeed was a really good reason for one of the characters to hate the other. And I realized that Paisley Turner from A Prom to Remember was the kind of girl to hold a grudge. Then I took little pieces of Harry and Archie from the first two first drafts and sprinkled them together to created Carter Schmidt, the best worst boy in the world. (At least in my opinion. But I’m a little biased.)
So there you have it. In case you were wondering, yes, a book can have three first drafts.