Writing a 1st Draft

Sometimes a short story comes together quickly, or you’re on a roll with a novella – or perhaps an entire novel. You’re not really thinking about the editing yet, as you just need to get what is in your head typed out. There is an urgency saying “Don’t stop yet. There’s so much more to write!” At times you miss sleep, or have to cancel something, because you just have to record every thought.

Graphic by Shannon L. Buck, copyright January 17, 2018. https://www.amazon.com/Shannon-Buck/e/B01AIXHW0Y/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1When you’re done, while taking a few minutes to scan the document, you realize your manuscript sucks! The thing doesn’t even make sense. You don’t even know what some of those sentences were supposed to say.

This is why we edit. No one wants to have to read the first draft of a story. It would be torture. How did our teachers even handle it back when we were in junior high school? Even you don’t want to read it.

You put the manuscript away, in a drawer or a file cabinet, to come back to it at a later date. Why? Because it definitely needs work, but you need to take a step back and concentrate on something else for a week, a month, or maybe even two. You need to be able to look at that thing with fresh eyes, so you can figure out what it is supposed to say.

This is why I never ask anyone to read a first draft. I would simply be too embarrassed.


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