So there it is. The coveted first draft. 459 pages of … pure garbage.
A friend of mine asked if she could read my manuscript now that I have finished it. My response?
Don’t get me wrong. I feel immensely proud of the fact that I have managed to write 90k+ words that somehow tell a story. I feel like a massive weight has been lifted from me now that I’ve managed to get all of those words out of my brain and onto paper.
But it’s a first draft.
First drafts are designed to be crap. It’s what they’re there for.
Although I am feeling amazing for completing it and am having some much needed time away from it; I know in the back of my mind that there is a huge amount of editing that needs to take place before it gets anywhere near the stage that I want people to read it.
I mean, seriously…I changed a character’s name halfway through. I changed the protagonists back story halfway through so the first two chapters no longer make sense with the rest of the book. It’s cringeworthy.
“By the time I am nearing the end of a story, the first part will have been reread and altered and corrected at least one hundred and fifty times. I am suspicious of both facility and speed. Good writing is essentially rewriting. I am positive of this.” ─ Roald Dahl
But, it’s there. It’s down on paper. And it’s a starting point to create something new.I’ve read a lot about authors and first drafts. It’s emboldening to know that even some of the best authors write crummy first drafts. Take J.K. Rowling. It’s been reported that she rewrote the first chapter of The Philosopher’s stone so many times that it bears no resemblance to her early drafts. And even one of my all time heroes Ronald Dhal said that “good writing comes from rewriting”. So maybe there is hope for me yet!
“Whenever Jessica fell asleep in her pushchair, I would dash to the nearest café and write like mad. I wrote nearly every evening. Then I had to type the whole thing out myself. Sometimes I actually hated the book, even while I loved it.” J.K.Rowling
When I have had a little more time away from it, I’ll sit down with a nice coloured pen (my husband tells me it can’t be red because that’s too negative – personally I always loved the red pen!) and scribble the shit outta that thing.
And hopefully, draft number 2 will be infinitely better.