…and it’s writing.

A tipsy discussion of writing craft. Writers D.C. McNaughton and Avery Ames imbibe a few drinks while they review and revise their old (and often cringey) writing. Each episode focuses on a particular aspect of craft and features a themed cocktail pairing.

Ep 029: Word-vomit & Zero Drafts

March 7th, 2022

What exactly is a Zero Draft, how does one differ from an outline, and why might you want to give them a try? Grab a draft beer for this week's themed beverage and join D.C. and Avery as they discuss the subject!

Books and authors mentioned:

  • The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, by V.E. Schwab
  • The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt
  • Jonathan Strange & Mister Norrell, by Susanna Clarke
  • Piranesi, by Susanna Clarke


Zero Draft Sample:

It shouldn’t be this easy, but there are no guards, not here, all I need to do is to avoid being seen by anyone [[draw this out, add tension, have her creeping around & maybe almost caught]]

I know for sure that tonight, Autumn will be alone. Every tenth day [[check this - is it really ten?]], he spends it without a consort or any other sort of companionship. [[explain this schedule earlier in the book]]

I knock on his door. A moment later, teh latch clicks, the knob turns. [[should they even have doors? maybe curtains or something more open]]

Autumn’s eyes wide. His hair is unruly with sleep, his stare sleepy. “Tirne. You are forbidden to enter these halls, on punishment of [[WHAT?]].” He’s stern, puzzled, but he hasn’t called for anyone yet.

“Your Holiness… I have news of utmost importance..” 

“It should be, if you are willing to risk [[FIGURE THIS OUT]] to share it.” He stares at me. He closes his eyes. He steps back and gestures me in


“You’ve already broken every rule to be here. What’s one more?” 

I step inside. [[DESCRIBE HIS ROOM]]

He latches the door behind me.

[[Write the rest of this scene later:]]

  • How does this play out? Is he angry or happy to see her?
  • She tells him all the clues
  • He believes her story & start working with her
  • Add earlier romancey stuff —  slow-burn comes to a point here
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