Wow, that's bad

I recently re-read the beginning of my first completed novel-length ms. Not the first draft - oh, no, that thing has long been deleted (although the long hand version still exists somewhere in the depths of my storage room). It was, um, well, yeah - bad.

And I'm almost positive that it's the version that went out to an agent when I got a partial request on my very first query (on an ms that had been revised and beta-read - yes, I'm a rule follower).

I had the dream. A book that would defy the odds and get published at record pace WITH ONLY ONE QUERY!!!!!

yes, I know. I'm experiencing some embarrassed laughter for me, too.

Here it is. Some stats on my very first - um, well, okayillsayit, bad - first page. Revealing more than the first page might give you a stroke and I can't be held responsible for that. (you know this is erica, right?)

Okay, wait. First I have a couple of awards to give out:

Best dialogue tag ever in a YA novel while the mc is having a temper tantrum: "...my mother replied with a tired voice." (because yes, you'd totally notice that)

Best trait to get someone to want to read your YA romance: mc has a temper tantrum on the first page (but dang it, it was a good one. and totally justified.)

Most -ly words ever used in a sentence that has been revised several times to delete all -ly words: Unfortunately, her face was starting to turn a shade of red she usually saved for unruly clients.

Okay, fine, now for some stats.

Number of -ly words that had been previously edited out but somehow stubbornly remained (crap, there's another one. but stubbornly totally needs to be in that sentence) (crap again) (smile)7

Amount of times a person growls (I mean, people growl, right??): 1

How many times the 17-year-old mc says something that makes someone else think she's acting like a baby (even though the author was very clever in making the adults either roll their eyes at her, grin at her knowingly, or tell her she's acting like a baby to conceal the truth): 3

My personal favorite - how many times I used the word "I": 11

God, I'm glad I'm not an agent/editor/someonewhoreadscrapforalivingwhilelookingforajewel.

Come on, share 'em in the comments. Any cringe-worthy submissions of your own??


  1. Very funny!! I feel this way when I look back on things that I thought were close to ready--oh, and weren't. Look how far I've come! Thank goodness for the learning curve. :)

  2. I cringe when I looke back on my first queried MS! I'm glad we can pick ourselves back up and learn from our mistakes!

  3. How fun! I loved looking over old things I've written. My first manuscript that I queries swapped POV at will, like every other paragraphs. Really, it did. And the ly's could have choked an elephant!

  4. I just burned a bunch of my pages written about 5 years ago. I didn't even want to read them, they were that bad.

    I STILL have the problem of long, wordy sentences that include multiple redundancies (hmm, that one might qualify). At least I'm starting to recognize them now, and I feel so clever when I can cut them down from 15 words to 10!

  5. Ah, the early years! Those first drafts are so scary. My problem: purple prose! I somehow felt the need to make each sentence a work of art rather than the manuscript as a whole. I mean really, how many metaphors are too many?


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