Saturday, March 04, 2006

It's Just First Draft Stuff

After reading some of the comments on “Write to Sell or Write for Yourself,” I began to wonder what other writers considered a first draft. A few of us commented that we prefer to finish a draft before we ask for feedback, as that is the draft we simply need to get out of us before we revise and get down to the core of the story.

But what do you consider to be a first draft?

After my novel writing classes where we spent MONTHS on about 50 pages of a 400+ page story, I had to break myself of the habit of revising and revising a page before I could move on. If I’d kept on at that rate, I’d never finish a novel because, frankly, I’m not one of the fastest writers, and it is too easy for me to get hung up on trying to perfect a paragraph in the first draft that may or may not be cut once I step back and look at the story as a whole. So perfecting as I go along doesn't work for me.

Once I gave myself permission to plow through the story, to get it all down on paper, I finally felt that sense of relief and accomplishment when I typed the last sentence. Now, that doesn’t mean I’ll let anyone read that draft (I cringe when I read it. Yikes.), but at least I have a better handle on my characters, their motivations, their conflicts, and the plot in general. Then the revisions begin, which usually take longer than the first draft.

So, I’m curious…What do you consider to be your first draft? Is it a polished work of art (yeah, I know some of you are out there)? Or do you plow through it in order to ground your beginning, middle, and end? And how much revising do you do along the way?

I can’t wait to read your thoughts on this…

Michele Cwiertny