Hey y'all! It's Grace. Today, I'm hosting Kat Rosenfield for a blog tour hosted by Gabrielle from The Mod Podge Bookshelf!
Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone was published July 5 by Dutton Juvenile.
An arresting un-coming-of-age story, from a breathtaking talent
Becca has always longed to break free from her small, backwater hometown. But the discovery of an unidentified dead girl on the side of a dirt road sends the town--and Becca--into a tailspin. Unable to make sense of the violence of the outside world creeping into her backyard, Becca finds herself retreating inward, paralyzed from moving forward for the first time in her life.Short chapters detailing the last days of Amelia Anne Richardson's life are intercut with Becca's own summer as the parallel stories of two young women struggling with self-identity and relationships on the edge twist the reader closer and closer to the truth about Amelia's death.
Today, Kat Rosenfield is going to be talking about first drafts. I'm currently working on the first draft of something, and I can definitely emphasize with this! I hope y'all enjoy!
FIRST DRAFTS by Kat Rosenfield
Amelia Anne Richardson died for the first time six years ago, behind the closed door of my bedroom in Brooklyn, to the sound of the clicking keys of a laptop that's now long-dead. At the time, I didn't know why or how she'd died, or even who'd killed her; I only knew that her story began at the end, with a broken body on a scorched asphalt road, with the rising sun glaring in two lifeless eyes.
Some people say that first drafts are throwaways, a warm-up, the layer you have to peel off of your brain before you can really write your story. And since my book was published, people love to ask me about mine — how much the story has changed since the first time I told it, between rewrites and revisions and edits line-by-line.
In some ways, the answer is, "Completely." The very first draft of my book was a mess, a mangled, multiple-personality-disordered chimera that wasn't how it wanted to unfold, or if it even could. And over the years it took to tell and re-tell the story, it took shape in unanticipated and wild ways. Scenes evolved, settings shifted, characters changed or merged or disappeared entirely. By the time AMELIA ANNE IS DEAD AND GONE found its way onto shelves this month, Amelia Anne Richardson had died a half-dozen times — in different ways, at different hands, in moments that ranged from tragic to terrible. And yes, it was a completely different story from the one I first told all those years ago.
Except that it isn't.
Because a first draft is the story. It's everything you think it could be, and everything you don't yet know it will be, dragged out in the open and placed out in front of you, where you can see it from every side. And though the raw material of a first draft may be ugly, and shapeless, and hiding deep, dark flaws beneath its misshapen, mottled skin, it's anything but a throaway. Even if you slice it into pieces; even if you cut it off at the knees; even if you whittle away at its middle until it collapses under its own ungainly weight. And however slick and streamlined your story becomes when it shows up at your door, printed and bound and wrapped up in pretty paper, you'll see the first draft in it — in its bones, in its mood, in a single sentence that made it all the way through without changing even once.
Of course, I'll still continue to talk about hard work and long hours when people ask me how my story has changed since that first draft. I'll tell them about revisions. I'll tell them about character development. I'll tell them about the thousands of words that appeared, and disappeared, in the time it took to make the story take shape. And it'll all be true.
But so will this: Amelia Anne has been dead and gone since the very first word hit the page.
Kat Rosenfield is a freelance writer and YA author. She lives in New England, but that might change.
Thank you so much Kat! I'm so glad that I got to read this. If y'all are interested in reading more of Kat's beautiful guest posts, entering giveaways for copies of Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone, interviews, or reviews, check out the rest of the schedule that Gabrielle has put together!