Thursday, June 6, 2013

Roughing it through the First Draft

Writing is easy; all you have to do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until the drops of blood from on your forehead.
Gene Fowler

           Rough drafts. First drafts. Daft drafts. It doesn't really matter what you call them. They're all the same.

           And I despise them all. All of mine at least. They are the worst things to ever come across paper, or the screen. Really.  I know I can do better than that. That the words can be so much more expressive. I'd rather edit. I love to take my ugly mess and turn it into something wonderful and captivating.

A writer is a person for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.
Thomas Mann

           I used to edit my scenes before I moved onto the next ones. Which may be one reason why I haven't finished a whole book yet. Editing in the middle of your first draft slows progress. Also I may have spent a whole day on a scene or character that I may end up taking out of the book! What a waste of time.

Putting it on paper lets you start fixing it. If it stays in your head, a perfect idea, you'll never share it with anyone.
Emma Coats

           Then I used to avoid writing (of course I still do). But then I have nothing to edit either, nothing to work with, no story at all. That doesn't help much. So I have to force myself to writing. I have to give myself the okay to write terribly. Because there's no getting around it. (forgive this next image) Writing the first draft is like throwing up on the page, all the ideas, all at the same time, sometimes with no particular order, and all written very badly. Everything is all mixed together.

Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.
Louis L'Amour

         Once I wrote a short story. But I had two ways of getting to the ending. Since I wasn't sure which way to choose, I wrote both ways in the same draft. I'm not sure I would recommend that. But I always have to remind myself:

It's perfectly okay to write garbage- as long as you edit brilliantly.
C. J. Cherryh

           What about you? Do you prefer first drafts or editing? What do you like and dislike about either of them?

All photos are from


  1. I can't decide whether I like first drafts or editing better. I don't *exactly* like rewriting. :('s a relief not to have to get it right in the first draft. I like making wild and messy first drafts. Not editing A SINGLE DOT. And then running away to make something new. I need to rewrite. ;) One of these days...

    1. I will admit. Writing a messy first draft and then just walking away gives me that mischievous feeling of getting away with something. ;)


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