One more in the Behind “The Process” series, which takes a look at the ins and outs of the fiction writing process.
Today I’m writing this as much for myself as anyone else. I’m still in first draft mode. For a couple things, actually. First, I’m writing another novel (yay!). I’m also trying to finish a short story I’ve been toying with for a writing contest. Toying as in, starting it, not loving it, starting over, not working on it for awhile due to blogging, novel…ing, and life stuff. But as the extra time melts away and the deadline looms, I’m getting more focused on the short story. But here’s my problem:
And this is solvable. How?
Simple as that. Don’t get caught up in the, Oh, is this good enough? Does this sound cheesy? There’s no depth to this story… when you’re doing the first draft. It’s not worth time and agony.
These are traps we set up for multiple reasons. One, to avoid humiliation. When you’re an artist, of any kind, and you put something out there–it’s kind of like walking onto a stage naked and hoping no one laughs at you.
Stupid analogy, I’m aware, but the emotion fits, and one way to avoid that humiliation: don’t go on the stage.
Another reason we don’t finish:
They are. When you write the first draft, you’re like, Damn this is bad. So…don’t show it to anyone. No one deserves to see how bad your first draft is. And every writer I know says their first drafts are pieces of shit.
No pulled punches. First drafts, by their nature, kinda suck. Good writers don’t writer good first drafts every time; they fix crappy first drafts and make them into beautiful works of art.
It’s like doing a pencil sketch on a canvas that you’ll eventually paint in. You don’t want to show someone the sketch; you want them to see the finished product! They can’t see the layers upon layers, depth, and–and here’s the MOST FUN part of “The Process”–the stuff that you don’t even know will be there yet!
So here’s what you do:
Brandon Scott, author of the Vodou Series was on Creative Ops and said that he writes that first draft with an intensity placed on simply getting from beginning, to middle, to end as fast as possible. I couldn’t agree more. Once you get the first draft done, you can get to the truly fun parts, in my opinion–the building, restructuring, rewriting, editing….
But not until it’s done.
Alright. OK. Enough farting around; I’ve got a first draft to get through.
Good luck to all of us. Happy drafting, writers!
Christopher Tallon writes, podcasts, and…wait a second. Are you actually reading this? HIGH FIVE!