Friday, June 19, 2020

Writing: First Drafts

My agent long ago gave me a magnet which still hangs on my refrigerator. It says, "First drafts don't have to be perfect. They just have to be written." Another writer once said, "You can't edit a blank page." So we sit down with our idea, sketch out our characters and plot, and try our best to produce a good work. But the first action is to turn out a first draft.

It's a daunting thought that your words will be reduced to paper and kept there for all the world to see for as long as the work is published. The task, then, is to produce the best possible effort for your novel, since it's our fervent hope that it's going to be read by so many.  The printed book may eventually be consigned to the trash bin--either after having been read and re-read numerous times or partially read only once. The desire is to be in the former group, not the latter. But don't try to make the first draft your best. If so, you'll write it over and over but never get it just right.

The first draft may undergo numerous revisions. The final product may not (in some cases) bear even a token resemblance to the first draft. But it all starts there. Whether it takes a dozen passes to get there or only one or two, it all starts with the first draft. Don't let it buffalo you. Get started on that one...and good luck.

Questions or comments? Fire away.


3 comments:

Priscilla Bettis said...

Thanks for the encouragement.:-)

Patricia Bradley said...

I keep telling myself, "You can't edit what you haven't written." It's the only thing that gets me through that first draft. lol Some writers love writing that first draft, but not me!!!

Richard Mabry said...

Priscilla and Patricia--I don't know of anyone who really enjoys writing a first draft. But, as the saying goes, most writers don't enjoy writing--they enjoy having written. Me, too.