Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tyra Banks and the 1,000 Page First Draft

Did you see Wall Street Journal's interview with America's Top Model/Talk Show Host/Author on her bestselling YA book?

Along with revealing the dangers of writing kidlit (the stress gave her alopecia), Tyra Banks mentions giving her first draft to a very close beta reader:

"Q:Who did you turn the first draft into?
A: My mom. I told her to go to a hotel and focus. It was 1,000 pages. First she said: Tookie has too many bad things happening to her, so I removed a lot of heavy stuff. It was imperative that the reader connect with her and invest. The second thing was she liked that she felt me, that kind of gay male thing that I do. That campiness was important. My editor said a lot of the same things as my mom. The next step was painful, because we had to cut 50%. But looking back I could cut more."
 Unfortunately, mama Banks didn't flag naming the main character Tookie de la Creme. Maybe it was the wagon-load of paper that distracted her. But she was spot on with her word count advice. Whenever you're feeling stubborn about killing your darlings, just remember that even super models have to follow rules. If Tyra did it, so can you.

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