JJ Writes

Baby Leopards, Pretty Stationery and Finished 1st Drafts

I finished writing the first draft of my fantasy story! Happy Dance time! I celebrated with the age old – lets eat lots of yummy food – method. Chinese takeaway, ice cream and, okay, I had other desserts too!


This post is literally just me patting myself on the back and explaining this is why I’ve been less crafty on the blog lately. I was a little busy!

I started writing at the start of November for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), where I managed to write 11 chapters/45k of my book. I had planned to only do about one chapter a month after that, which would have me finishing around about July but…. Well, I got carried away and I ended up finishing the whole thing on February 3rd.

Why does the exact date matter? Well, the last first draft I wrote took me 9 months, so I called it my baby. But after a conversation with my dad about gestation periods of animals I found out that the average gestation of a leopard is 93 days…. So this story is now dubbed, Leo the Baby Leopard. I think this might be a thing going forward. Naming my first drafts after animals that take that long to be born.


I recently downloaded the tumblr app again (I deleted it a year ago because it sucked out way too much time), mainly for looking up writing advice. And I found this little nugget:
Photo 04-01-2018, 11 24 51 pm

I’d written it August 2016. That’s the day that my main character walked in to my head and where the story started. Looking back and realising that actually no, those two days were not wasted and I have actually written the story is – surreal. There’s still a long way to go, but it was a nice reminder of how far I’ve come.

I’ve already started the editing process – I know a lot of advice is to leave it for a while first but I have certain things I know I need to fix already so I’m going to do those first (plus edit auto corrects, which there are a lot of!) and then set it to the side for a few weeks when I go on holiday next month. But I did take time out to buy myself some pretty, new stationery.

Photo 14-02-2018, 2 31 02 pm


I probably won’t even use them but I’m already drowning in the unknown waters of editing and while pretty stationery won’t keep me afloat they’ll definitely make me feel better.

I’ve also attempted to blurb the story again. My first effort was absurdly terrible but this effort was mildly less rubbish. A step in the right direction at least. But condensing 100k and distilling the story into an alluring 200 words is the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. I’m not exaggerating when I say its 100x more difficult to me than writing the first draft itself!


Any other writers struggle with the blurb? If anyone has any tips for an editing newbie then I’m all ears. Lifejackets will be appreciated.


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20 thoughts on “Baby Leopards, Pretty Stationery and Finished 1st Drafts”

    1. Haha lots of celebrating its going on. But I’m doing a very quick first round and then leaving it for over a month before I come back to the hard work.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I only titled my novel AFTER I finished my first draft. I tried before but came up with nothing and then something just fell into place. I’m envious about your blurb skills though


  1. Congratulations on finishing your first draft, Jessica! A major accomplishment, especially with ME!!! Woohoo!
    You asked for tips on writing a blurb; I have 2 formulas I use. One is called “the elevator speech”, and the structure is this:
    Character‘s name:
    Job / Life‘s work:
    Current situation:
    When + Inciting Incident:
    Now + What‘s at Stake:
    Pull it all together:

    Another way of looking at that is this:
    Sentence 1: Character‘s name, job life‘s work + current situation
    Sentence 2: When + inciting incident (event that propels character into action)
    Sentence 3: Now + what‘s at stake for the character

    If you can refine your core ideas from your draft to these basic sentences, and then smooth them together, you might come out with a pretty good blurb, or at least a good starting point.

    I hope that helps! I have more writing tips over at my eponymous blog, and I send out a short newsletter with my personal writing tips and tricks once a month (you can sign up for that if you’d like). Keep writing, keep crafting, and more power to you! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I think the main problem I have is that there’s four povs in my book and they all have their own arcs so I fall down at the first step of who is the main character! Haha.
      I know I don’t have to mention all of them but then I feel like it doesn’t capture what my book is about and….ugh. I’ll obviously just have to keep trying. But I can’t really find much help online for multi pov blurbs.

      What’s the link for your blog? I don’t think it’s showing up properly on my mobile.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My website is http://www.stephaniehuesler.com
        I had the same issue with my 2-part fantasy/sci-fi novel, “The Cardinal”: I had three separate storylines woven together, spanning 8th C. Scotland, 8th C. Norway & modern Scotland. You might want to go on to Amazon and take a look at the blurb for those books – it may help give you an idea how you can tackle your own. Having said that, you’re on your first draft, so I wouldn’t worry too much about the blurb at this point, if I were you – it may change drastically in the next rewrite or three! Let me know how it goes!! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks. That’s an amazing blurb. Can’t really do the same thing in mine as is all in one time /place.
        I don’t think the plot will change much to be honest. At least not until after the beta stage which is what I want a blurb for at the moment. I did a prequel and a very long outline (40k) before I started writing so the story shouldn’t need too drastic a change. Though I’m sure I will change smaller things along the way.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Congratulations it’s so exciting! I hate writing abstracts for work and I feel blurbs are even harder considering you can’t give away everything that’s in your story!


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