I Can Fix That Later

I’m exhausted, but in a good way. I spent yesterday wrestling with that stubborn story whose plot and format have danced just out of my reach for years. I’m happy to report I’ve identified the bones and laid them out in their proper configuration. Muscles, tendons, and ligaments to follow. Now I need to switch from scribbling wild notes on paper to sitting at the computer to create the setting. There are parts of a story I have to compose on the computer because my mind goes too fast for my pen to keep up.

This will by no means be the finished product. This is part of that “shitty first draft” we all know so much about but are often afraid to admit we write. I think I actually write a preliminary first draft and then a first draft, if that’s possible. I start with an initial concept and character and write out what I have in my head, then I take that information and start making sense of it. I love getting a draft down, printing it out, and then going at it with a red pen. I know some of you really hate revision, but I love it. I have something in front of me, crappy though it may be, that I can work on. It means I’ve moved from that staring into space stage to slipping deep into the words in front of me. It’s an amazing sort of self-hypnosis. The porch could be on fire and I wouldn’t notice.

Years ago, when I tried to write stories and failed, it was because I kept rewriting the first few lines, trying to make them perfect before moving on with the story. I murdered whatever inspiration put the pen in my hand to begin with.

When you put something on paper and print it out, you make it a lot easier for your creative mind to search for better words or more interesting descriptions. Once you’ve laid the foundation, which is very hard work, your mind is free to wander a little farther down the road to see what’s out there.

If you’re afraid to write your story down right now because it’s too scrawny and sickly for the world to see, get over it. Nobody has to see it right now. Take the time to feed it and care for it before you take it out for a walk. The crap you put on paper now can be worked into a wonderful piece of art if you tell your ego to shut up for a while and let your creative mind do the work it needs to do.

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6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. kinginascendent
    Jun 16, 2014 @ 13:57:37

    I can fix bad writing but I can’t fix what never makes it to the page in the first place. Do you let anyone see your first draft? I used to but I don’t and haven’t for a long time now.

    Reply

  2. kinginascendent
    Jun 16, 2014 @ 13:58:09

    Reblogged this on kinginascent and commented:
    Good wisdom on first drafts.

    Reply

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