Writing Rants: First Drafts

As anyone who has followed me will probably have already picked up on I, hate first drafts.

First drafts make me sad

I hate writing them; I physically have to force myself to sit and type. If I ever lose motivation during a story, it is always at this stage when I’m putting the first words on the page.

The planning stage is great, probably one of my favourite stages. Everything is so fresh and new, I can see everything so clearly, and I know it’s going to be great. I always feel so excited at this point; I can’t wait to get started until I try to get started.

Editing is long and laborious, but I love it when a story starts to shape up when it begins to come together. I get just as excited as I am in the planning stage. When the little-scribbled story begins to look like a real book, it’s one of the best feelings.

The first draft is like I spit up on the page.

What I see in my head looks nothing like what comes out on my first draft. My first drafts are wooden, cliché, the dialogue is awful, and it is at this point I almost give up on every single project. It takes a lot of effort to get through that wall.

I’m currently working on the first draft for Courage in Silence, a story that I loved while planning and hate now I’m in the first draft.

I hate first drafts.

Hated hot enough to roast

I do not mildly dislike them or prefer to be doing something else; I HATE them. I hate them with the burning fury of one thousand suns.

I hate them more than most people hate Joffrey Baratheon. Or Stannis Baratheon.

See that’s how much hate I have inside of me. Scary huh?

The typical response to this level of hatred (apart from a slow backing away) is confusion.

“But why do you hate first drafts?”

“That’s my favourite part when everything’s so new and exciting.”

“First drafts are great they give me a feel for what I am writing.”

“First drafts are fun, editing it the $%@£.”

Nope

For me first drafts are a living nightmare, my incompetence laid bare before me. I find them exhausting, long and utterly, utterly depressing. I have put this down to my writing style, or rather my organisational style.

When I start a new project, be it a full-length novel, a comic book, or a short story I plan it to death. By the time the planning is done, I know exactly who my characters are, what they look like, how they feel inside my head and what they had for breakfast eighteen years ago last Thursday.

Because of the amount of detail that goes into my planning I can usually see the finished project in my head. It looks complete; I can see how it will look after several drafts and hundreds of edits. It almost feels like I finished it already. Usually, I even know what the front cover will look like.

Then the first draft (and my torment) begins.

The dreaded blank page that I then spew words onto. Suffice to say my first drafts look nothing like what I see in my head. In my head the language flows, the prose is perfect, the characters are three-dimensional and witty, and the scenes are there in full technicolour HD glory. What is actually on the page is a couple of sentences that look like I put a spoon inside my head, scooped out a lump of mush and spread it around on the page with my fingers. While blindfolded.

I question myself

“What good is this?”

“Who on this planet would want to read that?”

“The delete button is right there you know.”

Fortunately, I am aware of my failings, and I know deep down that once I get to the second or third draft, the project will start to look much more like what it will become. I rarely delete my first drafts anymore.

But I still hate them.

More than Joffrey.

Katie Marie wrote a Book. A big one and a couple of little ones. Check them out!

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