Defining a First Draft

Writing is a very personal endeavor; there are no short cuts, no apps that will fill in the blanks your imagination runs up against and very few helpful “tricks” to make it easier. Nowhere is it more apparent that in the first draft of a short story, novella or novel. It is also here where a beginning writer runs to the most daunting realization that there are more than 1 draft of their master piece.

Now I am sure folks will point out that many very famous writers claim to get it right the first time. On the whole it is unrealistic to hold yourself to the expectations of a writer that has been practicing their craft for decades. Let you be you when approaching a new piece of fiction (or your first).

A First Draft is a big pile of words that tells a story, it is okay to have grammar mistakes, spelling mistakes, plot holes and rough character development. IT IS OKAY, because remember this is the first draft. During the writing process of that draft you need to allow your story to go where it wants, let it explore and find itself. Be silly with it, let the voice become clear to you. By the time you reach the end you will have decided what kind of story you are writing and the voice should be clear (or becoming clear).

Read through your first draft with a red pen and if you are lucky enough to have a trusted reader someone that is willing to look past the potholes to see the story then have them read it too. I am lucky that my wife is willing to read a first draft and cut through it with a red pen AND add some very constructive notes on the story itself.

After the red pen is set down you are ready to get down to business with the: Second Draft.

 

– Brian

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