On First Drafts

I’ve come to realise that writing first drafts is sinking slowly into insanity. It starts out small. You realise there’s a small correction you have to make in chapter three. No matter, you can fix it later. Then it grows: wait, there’s a section there that doesn’t make sense. Or, whoops, would that character really throw a fit and storm out of the room? It’s fine. You can fix it later. You can fix it later. You can fix it all later.

Eventually you’re staring into the cold red eyes of a hundred thousand word monstrosity with far too many heads and limbs, wondering how you’re going to make sense of the words you poured onto the page.

But I believe you can only tame a beast when you fully understand it. That’s why I’m trying to let first drafts be. I’m allowing myself to make mistakes and to create ugly things. A bad first draft is just a potentially better second draft.

So I’m excited to see all the grotesque issues bubble out of my manuscript’s first draft. It’ll give me a better idea of how to improve it. Besides, there’s no pleasure in being good if you’re not bad first.

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