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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

U is for Janet Gurtler, How I Lost You, and Ugly

And yes, I realize today is T, but I had my dates mixed up and gave Janet the wrong letter. Tomorrow will be T.

Happy Book Birthday HOW I LOST YOU!!!

I met Janet last fall through one of my CP's, and she's been such a nice writing friend, answering questions, letting me pick her brain, and even guest blogging for me:) I've now read all her books  and can't wait to read this one.  

Take it away, Janet. 

When we’re writing our novels or poems or English papers or even our Christmas letter one of things I’ve learned is to remember is that first drafts are meant to be U-gly.  See, even when I first wrote that sentence I had to read it over a few times and realize I’d left out a key word.  So I fixed it. The ugly.  Also, confession time, I usually spell Grammar with an e instead of an a. Ugly.
Sometimes we need to get down the thoughts in our heads, and sometimes we need to do it in a big hurry. Or at least I do.  So when I belch out a bunch of words, or dialogue between two characters I need to get it down. Fast. And it’s good to remember you can come back to it later and fix it.
Ugly first drafts are standard.  The bones are there but often the bones are broken or out of place and need to be fixed.
I hate to admit it, but I am not the ultimate Grammar Queen.  I sometimes mix up things like peak and peek.  I’ve been known to spell things wrong and use words out of context. Let’s face it; the English language is a tricky one.
But at least I have learned that I have to go back to my ugly first drafts and polish them up. Look for the things I need to fix, the grammatical errors that you can skip or miss.  Even better in the publishing world, there are copyeditors whose JOB it is to find those errors. And they often pick up things I’ve missed.
Thank Goodness for Copyeditors who find the Ugly even in later drafts! 

Isn't Janet great? First drafts are meant to be messy and ugly. It's in the revisions where our stories become polished.
Where to find Janet:

Indie Amazon B&N

Young adult author, Janet Gurtler, writes realistic young adult fiction for Sourcebooks Fire. Booklist has compared Janet's work to Sarah Dessen and Jodi Picoult. Janet likes that a lot. Her latest book, HOW I LOST YOU is out April 23, 2013.


  1. Great post maybe a day early but nonetheless a pleasure to read.


  2. I love the idea behind this book, it's something that I've been through before :)

  3. Great post! Now I'm curious to read her books. :)

  4. Good! Because my first draft is a hot mess, lol.

  5. This is something we have to hear again and again, right? Thanks for the reminder that it's okay to have a drecky first draft!

  6. Oh! I like being early. Usually I'm late! I'll take it! And yes, first drafts are ugly. And that is okay. Thanks for having me on your blog, Robin!