Saturday, March 17

Naked and Ugly: The First Draft

How many of us are willing to strut naked down a populated street? No incentive of a million dollars, just you in your nakedness with everyone watching.

You don’t have to be extremely body conscious to not want to be your neighbourhood’s newest nudist. What you do need to be is very confident and comfortable to be in that sort of situation.

What does this have to do with books and reading?

When you write something, it’s going to be awkward and flawed. The plot it going to be broken, the characters will spout nonsensical lines and plausibility will slap you in the face. Grammar will decide that now is the perfect time for the two of you to officially break up and some parts of the prose will be down-right ranty.

Sounds horrific, yes? Well, that’s the way writing works. The first draft of anything is going to be crooked and raw. Parts of it will shine at you but others will make you want to cover your eyes and stab the page. We’ve all written things which were horrific less than perfect. If we stop at every jut, however, we’ll never achieve that refined result we hope for.

Back to nudity! Oh, you’d hoped I’d moved on? The embarrassment of walking in the buff is right up there with allowing people to read your first drafts. I won’t deny there are people who write something and hand it straight off to their friends or post it on the internet. They have guts and I applaud them. Me? I have trouble staring down some of my first drafts with my eyes alone.

Nude writing may work for some…but for most, we want to design, tailor and accessorise our writing until it’s something snazzy that can captivate the attention and imaginations of our readers, well after it’s out of their sights.

I wish my writing was gorgeous and swoon-worthy in its stark nakedness. When it boils down to it, I’d rather not risk someone seeing my naked and ugly first draft. It doesn’t capture the potential of the piece…and I don’t want to send my readers running.

How do you feel about your first drafts?

1 comment:

Suzanna B. Stinnett said...

Love this. I will work the "clothing" on my stories for a long time before presenting them to anyone. I can easily see what needs to be done after the first draft, and again after the second, third, maybe fourth. Then it starts to get a little arbitrary so I will ask someone I trust to give it a look-through. Then I'll rewrite it after all the things I suspected are confirmed, and after that, it will go to an editor.