My First Draft: Bryony Pearce

Bryony Pearce is the author of several novels for children and young adults. Her most recent publication, Windrunner’s Daughter, is also the first book she ever wrote! For a free copy, this weekend. Here, she writes about the momentous occasion she first wrote The End – and how that momentous occasion was by no means  the end of the story…
It seems strange to think of it now, but when I wrote my first novel, Windrunner’s Daughter, I had no thoughts about getting it published, I just wanted to know if I could write a whole novel. Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to be a writer more than anything, and I’d written short stories before, but this … this was just to see. Could I do it? If I could do it, write a whole novel, well then I’d think about the real novel I wanted to write.
I wrote Windrunner’s Daughter while I was pregnant with Maisie (she’s now ten) and winding down work (I was freelancing by then). When I wrote The End, it was the most amazing feeling – I’d done what I’d set out to do. I’d written a whole novel. I’d achieved what I needed to.
Then, and only then, did I start wondering whether it was worth doing something with this behemoth of a book (it was over 100,000 words). I had no knowledge of the industry, I didn’t know what I was doing, or what I’d done right or wrong. All I knew was that it was probably for kids, or teenagers. It had a young heroine and cool dragons. I went to the library, went through theWriters and Artists Yearbook, found a few agents who represented Children’s and YA literature and contacted them.

One of them asked to see the full manuscript. And that feeling perhaps overshadowed all the others. I remember sitting in bed, my huge baby bump sticking out in front of me and sobbing with joy.
Obviously there was an eventual rejection, but along with it a recommendation that I contact Cornerstones for a report.
I’ve gone into the process before, of how I got an agent, so I won’t go through it again, this post is about writing The End. So I did the redraft and wrote The End for a second time.
And again for a third. And again for a fourth.
This was the book that I could never seem to get right.
I wrote other books and those were published, but not Windunner’s Daughter. I had grown, not sick of this book, but more in love with it on each rewrite. I killed off all the dragons, got rid of characters and in the end changed the whole story to another planet. And eventually I found a publisher.
I must have written The End well over a dozen times by then!
Windrunner’s Daughter was published a couple of months ago – it is finally, finally, available to buy and read. It sits on my book shelf.
The last time I wrote The End was satisfying, especially as I thought I’d be writing The End on this book for the rest of my life, but there is nothing that compares to writing it for the first time.
After all, you always remember your first …
For a free copy of Windrunner’s Daughter, do search on on 18th and 19th June – my publisher has arranged for a freebie!  Enjoy.
-Bryony Pearce

Published by Leila from Megaphone

Writer and runs Megaphone: a writer development scheme for people of colour who want to write for children. Tweets @MegaphoneWrite and @LeilaR

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