Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A Delibately Bad First Draft

I'm coming to the end of the first draft of my novel and it's bad. I've made sure of it.

One of my many faults is I can obsess over things that don't matter, at least they don't really matter. In the past I've tended to punish myself for not making my first draft good, while at the same time punishing myself for not getting to the end, decrying my badness for not getting on with it and beating myself up for missing out on all the wonderful pieces of prose I never thought of.

Irritating isn't it.

This time, I've allowed myself to leave things undone. I've left description unwritten (except for a reminder in parentheses), and not worried about the dialogue, background or whether a character has a name or not. (I'm referring to one of them as 'the copper' throughout)

It's liberating and is doing me a lot of good as I'm focused on getting the story outline done (I tend to be a bit of a pantser that way) while allowing myself to be imperfect.

Imperfection is a far happier place than I thought it would be.


Chloe said...

Hooray for bad first drafts! I used to worry about first drafts unti I did NaNoWriMo one year and didn't have time to worry. That novel went on - a year later - to get an agent and although it looked nothing like that terrible first draft (barely one sentence went unchanged I think and it ended up 50% longer because I'd left bits out like you did!), that rubbish draft was important in getting it going. Now I can still worry but I'm actually beginning to enjoy rubbish first drafts!

Lexa Cain said...

I'm exactly like you in that I berate myself for everything. Premise not commercial enough. Prose not good enough. Writing isn't coming fast enough. Deadlines are set and missed. A lot. And that's all WITH giving myself permission write an awful first draft - and once I started revising, I realized how awful it was and that everything had to be rewritten. Ah well. That's the life of a writer.

I'm hoping your revisions go smoother than mine. :)