Archive Dive: the first draft
Let’s dive in and see what wisdom we can drag out of our archives for drafting, editing and rewriting.
If we start with the start, beginnings, Lucy Christopher says:
I spend ages getting the first third of anything right. It seems that once I have the first third, then I’m happy to race ahead and finish the rest of it. But until then I feel nauseas and unsettled, and I have the hugest compulsions to just keep going over what I’ve done.
I write about a thousand new words a day. But I start each day by reviewing the previous three days’ work.
This has two effects. One, it means that I ease into my writing day, editing and rewriting those 3,000 old words before facing the deadly blank page. By the time I finish that I’ve got a head of steam up, I remember what’s going on in the story, and writing new words doesn’t seem impossible, like it did right after coffee.
And how do you get the structure right? Nova Wheetman has this insight:
My sense of structure comes mostly from reading other people’s books. I love reading books that are so flawlessly structured, you don’t even know it’s there until someone points it out. But if you read a book that satisfies on every other level and lets you down on structure, it’s really annoying.
Finally, what do you do when you’ve finished your first draft? David Burton says:
I’m not going to look at the thing for another six weeks. Seriously, it’s going in a drawer. I’m not going to open it for at LEAST a month and a half. It’s taken up a huge amount of my brain for well over six months now, and my poor brain needs a break. I’m not going to show it to anyone. It’s just going into hibernation for a bit.
Time to get cracking on your first draft!