Shitty first drafts

“Very few writers really know what they are doing until they’ve done it.”

Peedeel's Blog

Shitty first drafts. All good writers write them. This is how they end up with good second drafts and terrific third drafts. People tend to look at successful writers who are getting their books published and maybe even doing well financially and think that they sit down at their desks every morning feeling like a million dollars, feeling great about who they are and how much talent they have and what a great story they have to tell; that they take in a few deep breaths, push back their sleeves, roll their necks a few times to get all the cricks out, and dive in, typing fully formed passages as fast as a court reporter. But this is just the fantasy of the uninitiated. I know some very great writers, writers you love who write beautifully and have made a great deal of money, and not one of them sits…

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After the First Draft #amediting, or am I (re) #writing?

Road to the Mind The struggle to complete the mythical first draft opens the gate to another level of enjoyment: in this case I am waiting for the work undertaken by my editor – bless her keyboard – to be completed before switching seriously into 2nd draft gear. I have already done some work on the basis of her observations and corrections so far: I expect a rewrite may be on the cards. Am I afraid? Not at all, this is training. One day it will bear fruit… or not. Who knows?

The adventure started some two years ago, often stalled and restarted, must continue. Distractions, travel, friends, family, books! – all reasons why progress is slow. One interesting observation is the number of blind alleys marks left all over the place: locations of no import, even characters of total irrelevance popping out here and then. My editor must think me nuts! And of course, as any writer in training, I am!

So what is the real next step? The novel is in three parts, and this was only part 1.  A rewrite of part 1 has real advantages, for example to reset the plot on a firmer foundation, after eliminating the “red herrings”. This should lead to better writing in parts 2 and 3, shouldn’t it? Well… The trouble is that the whole enterprise would be pushed back for at least a year; and there lies the risk of losing momentum.

There is another snag: new ideas are popping up, for another book! Discipline, discipline. We have to focus, and not lose sight of the goal: writing a good first novel!

Image: “Road to the mind”, by Leppakaklifoth