The Writing Process: The First Draft

Next up in the writing process is to begin the first draft! This is a magical and frightening time in the writing process. When you face a page and realize you have to fill it with 80,000 words of more, it can be quite overwhelming. But when you type that first word, it’s amazing.

Right, the first draft. Why is there even a first draft, can’t a book be finished in one go? The answer? A giant no. But that’s certainly not a bad thing.

When I wrote my first novel I thought it would just be the one draft, and I’ll edit it until it was perfect. Well, that didn’t turn out so good, and as a result, that novel is all over the place story wise, and I don’t really want to rewrite it. You need to write two drafts at least to get the story down as best as it can be.

The first draft of my next novel went in a completely different direction than the finished product, but if I hadn’t written that second draft, the Restoring wouldn’t exist today.

In my newest novel, which I won’t give the name to just yet, I’m half way through the first draft, but this time I’ve taken to it from an entirely different perspective, and I’m kicking myself for not doing it in my other two. The trick when writing a first draft is to wreck it. That’s right, wreck it. It’s great if it’s the worst hunk of words ever put on a page.

The first time, and also through the writing of the Restoring, I edited it as I went along, and that was the completely wrong way to go about it. In my current one, I’m taking all editing out, and just writing. Pure writing, no distractions, no time wasters, just writing. It’s given me so much freedom and I have found myself writing more pages each time. I can now write a thousand words at a time quite easily because I don’t look back.

I know when I finish the first draft it will be a downright mess, but that’s okay. One of my favourite sayings is “There’s beauty in the broken,”  (I’m sure that’s a song). It can not be more true for first drafts. When I see drafts where every second word is crossed out, or with hundreds of little icons on the sides, I know that person is a true writer. A true writer writes, not writes, edits, reads it through, writes a little bit again, reads it through again, edits a bit here and there, etc…. Your book will look and feel manufactured and it won’t feel alive. Remember, you’re a living, breathing individual, so write like one, not like an automatic typing machine. Yes, when finished, editing must be done, but the story will still feel like something you’ve created with your own hands.

So, don’t strive to be perfect. Don’t try to be the perfect Christian, because you’ll fail. Be yourself. In your writing, and in normal life. Everyone’s unique, so why wouldn’t you take it out in your writing?

God Bless, hope this helps.