Yesterday I finished the first draft of a new story. It took me eleven weeks to write 71,000 words. I often get asked how I draft so fast and I think that there are two answers. The first is that I get totally consumed by the story and find it really hard to drag myself away from drafting. I almost get a little OCD about getting the story out of my head and on the page. It’s just bouncing around in there and won’t let me think about anything else.

The second is that I don’t try to write a perfect draft. I just sit down at the keyboard and let the words flow. My first drafts  are far from perfect. I wouldn’t even send this one to a CP yet. I know there are a few plot holes, it’s full of adjectives and at least three of my characters raise a single eyebrow every time they question what’s being said, actually they probably do it when they’re surprised too and maybe when they’re flirting. But I don’t care about any of this while I’m writing. If I did it would get in the way of my creative flow. If there are minor plot holes or if the characters dialogue isn’t quiet worded right for their voice, it doesn’t matter. If I come to something that I’m not entirely certain on, I leave myself a track changes comment saying ‘insert cool tech that does xyz here’. I even have a character that is unnamed for the entire draft because his name just didn’t come to me. The other characters call him Blondie, for now. I’m sure he’ll get a name in the first round of edits. If not I’ll spend a day researching and searching for the perfect name for him.

Anyway my point is this; first drafts are for getting the story out. Don’t get wrapped up in the details or you’ll cause yourself to get blocked. Just write and enjoy the emotional ride that is drafting. Worry about all the other stuff in the months of revisions and edits that follow.

Now who’s going to help me celebrate writing ‘The End’? I’ve got yummy cake!

First Draft

Conor Keller via Compfight

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First Draft Mode