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May Your #FirstDraftFriday Be Productive & Fun!

Happy Friday! We're already a week into this month, so let's not waste any time getting into May's #FirstDraftFriday with guest author Phaea Crede!

Phaea is generously offering a manuscript critique as a prize for someone who completes a draft today! Details at the end of this post.

Phaea Crede’s debut picture book, JET THE CAT (IS NOT A CAT), illustrated by Terry Runyan, is out this month from Barefoot Books!

To order your copy, visit:

Now let's learn a little about JET THE CAT (IS NOT A CAT) and what inspired Phaea to sit down and write the first draft of it?

Jet is a cat who loves to swim, which confuses the other animals. Don’t ALL cats hate water? Jet is made to feel like she can’t be a real cat, and she sets off to find out what she really is. The first draft was based entirely on the fact that I thought restarting the book with Jet as a new animal every time was a funny idea.

What was that process like? Any hiccups with getting the first draft done?

I had a funny bit set up but there was no real heart to the story. That stalled me out for a while.

How did the manuscript change from that first draft to what it is today?

I got to know Jet more and her antagonists and realized that everyone had something they were insecure about! That led to a satisfying moment at the end where Jet decides she gets to define what being a cat means to her and all the other animals also show her who they truly are.

Are you a pantser or a plotter? And how does that affect your drafting of a story?

I am a dyed-in-the wool plotter. I will never change! Every story I write has an outline (even just in my head) or is built from 1,000 lists or Excel sheets.

Do you ever find yourself putting off drafting a story?

You just described my life! I have to think over a story for a looooong time before I start writing. Sometimes a month. Sometimes years! I’ve been kicking one idea around for over a decade that I still don’t feel “ready” to write. But someday I will. I believe that.

What is the hardest part of drafting a story for you? And how do you deal with that?

Finding time is the hardest thing right now. I love to have hours to sit and write. Now, with the pandemic and working full time, I have like…5 minutes a week. But I deal with that by really making the most of that 5 minutes by thinking about my story constantly.

What are your tips and tricks for getting that first draft committed to the page?

Always name your first draft “Terrible First Draft.” That gives you permission to be imperfect and have fun.

Great advice! So open a file, name it "Terrible First Draft," and get writing because #FirstDraftFriday has officially begun! To enter for a chance at a free picture book manuscript critique from Phaea, you must do the following by 8 pm ET today (May 7, 2021):

  1. Follow both me and Phaea on Twitter: @HollieWolverton and @PhaeaCrede

  2. Complete a full picture book draft

  3. Return to THIS blog post and comment that you’ve completed your draft and provide your Twitter handle. You will need to Sign Up/Log In to leave a comment (it’s easy - just an email and password). NOTE: You may get notifications as others leave comments (unfortunately, this is the default with Wix - I've registered my displeasure!), feel free to hit "unsubscribe" at the bottom of any notification you receive if they bother you! You will still be signed up for the giveaway.

Phaea's open to critiquing any PB, but humorous fiction is the best fit for her - just FYI! You don’t need to send in your draft or provide proof - we’re all about the honor system here! The lucky winner will be randomly drawn from the comments and announced on Twitter shortly after 8 p.m. ET tonight.

Happy drafting!

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Unknown member
May 08, 2021

Terrible first draft done! @Seven27


Unknown member
May 07, 2021

I just wrote a rough draft that has potential!


Just finished my terrible first draft in the nick of time. Thank you Phaea for sharing your process with us!


Rosanna Montanaro
Rosanna Montanaro
May 07, 2021

I did it! Thanks for the inspiration Hollie! Great interview. Congratulations Phaea. Look forward to reading! Thanks so much, Rosanna


I've made a terrible first draft, but it has promise!! @Jessica_Reed2

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