Jennifer Hillier

What I love about first drafts

Nov 24, 2009 | Uncategorized

1. They can be awful.

2. They can be awful.

3. They can be awful.

There’s nothing quite like making stuff up without any worries about striving for perfection.  And the first draft is really the only place I have complete and total reign to do this.  Plot holes can be fixed in future drafts.  Extraneous dialogue can be pruned in future drafts.  Clichéd phrases can be axed altogether in… you got it… future drafts.

The only thing I worry about in a first draft?  Getting the story out.  It doesn’t matter whether the writing’s good (though it certainly helps).  It doesn’t matter if I end up cutting 50% of it or more later on (though it would be great not to have to).  All that matters in the first draft is that I tell the story.  Because nobody’s going to read it.  Nobody’s going to critique it.  It’s just the story, fresh out of my head, in its most raw state. It simply needs to get out of my head and into my Word document, so that in my second draft…

… I can fix it.

I know of writers who agonize over every sentence before they can move forward.  I know of writers who research for months, then spend a year creating outlines so detailed that all they have to do afterward is add in some dialogue and the book is finished.  Ken Follett, author of Pillars of the Earth, does this.  So does Jeffrey Deaver.

It’s not my process.  Because I’m the kind of person who, if I let myself stress over perfection before the story’s finished, will intimidate myself right out of writing the story.

Ah, the freedom of first drafts and giving myself permission to write crap!  It’s nice to be here once again.

The blog is now dark until mid-December. Time for a break! Happy Thanksgiving!