Friday, April 9, 2010

The madness of the method

I was shifting through the piles and piles of paper in my office the other day and came across old versions of my manuscript. I thought it would be funny and educational to post a few of my different opening paragraphs so the world can see just how schizophrenic my writing process truly is. The Joan Collins titles, the self-indulgent opening quotes, the post-modern forward slashes. Sigh. Franco would be proud.

Draft: June 2008. Title: The Biggest Sin


“Frak," I said after retching. "I’ll have to clean this thing again.” There was a tiny bit of vomit on my shirt that made me feel terrible about myself so I stripped it off. I flushed the toilet and sat on the floor with my naked back resting against the freezing bathtub. Sick, dumped and shirtless.

Draft: February 2009. Title: Happy / Armageddon


Blech. My coffee tasted like tar. I ran out of artificial sweetener last week and I failed to remember to replace it ever since. I blamed my grocery store. Too many distractions, all competing for my eye, for my dollar, for my stomach. I thought about filling my tiny coffee spoon with sugar and adding its thick white granules to my day, but I did nine sit-ups the night before and so, decided against it.

Draft: April 9, 2009. Title: A HAPPY ARMAGEDDON

The war of Armageddon will cleanse the earth of all corruption and wickedness and open the way for a righteous new system of things under the rule of God’s Messianic Kingdom. Instead of being a frightening cataclysmic end, Armageddon will signal a happy beginning for righteous individuals, who will live forever on a paradise earth. - Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania

Draft: April 10, 2009. Title: A HAPPY ARMAGEDDON

It’s the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine. - R.E.M.

Draft: August 28, 2009. Title: A Happy Armageddon


It seems so cliché to start things off with a bang, or in this case, a crash. It’s one of those been-there done-that, over-before-you-know-it action movie formulas that I never took a shine to. See, I’m a slow girl. Not in the mentally-deficient or sexual sense, but in other ways.

Draft: November 2009. Title: A Happy Armageddon

Chapter One

No matter how hard the socially awkward and the extremely ugly try to convince themselves otherwise, nothing is more depressing than a table for one. It’s not a mark of independence, of confidence, or a purposeful rebellion against a socially-constructed something. No, to sit at a table by yourself, picking away at a plate with the wall for company means only this: you are unpopular, unloved and you likely chew with your mouth open. Or at least that’s how it was beginning to feel for me.

Draft: Like a month ago. Title: A Happy Armageddon

He did not smell like fish so I married him. Back in my town that was more than most brides could say. He was short but they were all short. Something about my people's men staying low to the ground in those days. Maybe their bodies knew the war was coming so they just didn't bother. So he was not perfect but he was good and he had no bad smell around him as I mentioned.


  1. So interesting to see all the different versions! And judging by the last one, I think I really need to read your manuscript again...

  2. Wait another year. The setting will be space. I'm thinking Mars or possibly Uranus.

  3. That was a test, Matt. You passed!