Deconstructing the First Draft (The Writer’s Bane)

Note: The paperback version of my novel Promised Land is now available on Amazon!

Let’s face it, most of us consider the first draft to be the worst or one of the worst parts of writing. I know of one or two writers who like the first draft process best of all, but . . . I’m not one of them. 😟

However, as I’m currently in the middle of the infamous first draft (top secret writing project TBA), it has me thinking . . . is it really so bad? So today I thought I’d take a crack at deconstructing the rumors and reputation of the first draft.

#1: It’s probably going to be bad.
True. Sadly. But that’s okay. Because whoever said that the “first draft is just you telling the story to yourself” hit the nail on the head. Whether you’re a pantser or a devout planner ( 🙋‍♀️), when you first start writing, you have a young, untested story in your head, and putting it down on paper is a daunting and dangerous feat. You’re hearing voices (the characters) and playing with fire (the plot) that you never have before.

Give yourself space to mess up. Be patient with the slow evolution of the story.

#2: It’s depressing.
False. It should never be depressing to explore an unknown story, to get to know (albeit slowly) new people and discover their passions, their history, their goals and motivations.

Keep it in perspective. And remember that one day this hunk of rock may become a diamond.

#3: It’s hard.
TRUE. For most of us, anyway. I mean, writing is always hard. But the first draft is sometimes the most difficult part of the job. Yes, the second draft (the rewriting phase) can be torture and the editing phase is like heart surgery . . . but the first draft? It can be both those things combined. Why? I think it is because we expect perfection. We expect the beautiful image in our mind to take shape on the page. And sometimes . . . it doesn’t.

Stick with it. Believe in the story you’re trying to create.

I think that quote from Shannon Hale says it all. We will build castles. We will conquer dragons. We will weave a fairy tale like nothing ever seen.

But it starts with a shovel full of sand.

It starts with the first draft.

Let’s chat! What is your opinion of the first draft? Do you like/dislike writing it?

. . . .

Don’t forget to stop by Amazon to pick up your copy of my YA fantasy novel Promised Land! Just 2.99 on Kindle or 7.99 in paperback.

Published by Hannah Gaudette

Hannah Gaudette is a home-school graduate living in the hills of New England. When she’s not writing or playing with the dogs, it’s a safe bet you can find her with some other animal, like goats. She is the founder of a sustainable agriculture movement called STEWARDSHIP in central Maine. She's a life-enthusiast and advocate for food allergy awareness, youth ministry, and service dogs.

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