1. shanemitchell1
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    shanemitchell1 Member

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    Is there such things as a pre first draft?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by shanemitchell1, Mar 28, 2009.

    Two problems: I have all of my story inside of my head, but I can't seem to get it on paper/screen. I have tried to sit down and plan it out but it seems that I can't, well just write it. I did manage to get over 400 words out today. I thought if I started with the first chapter then I would at least have that to play with, and I just needed to write. 400 words might not seem like a lot to someone, but it was a hurdle for me because I am a procrastinator. I guess my real problem and my question here is: I am not a great writer, yet, and when I start writing my first draft it comes out horrible, I will give an example, but not of what I have wrote because it is bad and I will be to embarrassed, but here is an example of my beginner writing style.

    Jeff walked to end of the hall and opened the door, he went through looking at every thing in the other room as he went in. The room was dark but the moon was shinning in through a crack in the blind. He walked to the kitchen and opened the top self on the left, and as Kevin informed him: the gun was there. Jeff stuffed the weapon into the back of his pants and.....

    Anyways my problem is I tend to write it as I see the scene in my head and it comes out very sloppy and I know this is the first draft and it will be sloppy, but should it be this sloppy? Do any of you do the same thing? Would this be considered a pre first draft? I hope everyone can understand my hardship here. Thanks.
     
  2. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Ernest Hemmingway said 'All first drafts are ****.'
    I always agree with this statement, first drafts are always bad for everyone.
     
  3. lynneandlynn
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    lynneandlynn Contributing Member

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    I think the point of a first draft is just to get the words on the paper. It's after that first draft is finally on paper that you should start worrying about how bad it is or isn't and work on editing only after you've gotten the entirety of the story out of your head.


    ~Lynn
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    you can call it a 'rough draft' if that feels better...
     
  5. iolair
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    iolair Active Member

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    They way I'm currently seeing it... the first draft is just to find out what the story is. When you rewrite, you can worry about how you're telling the story.

    I'm not even letting myself think about how bad the first draft might be right now, otherwise I'll end up tinkering and never finish it (my first attempt at a novel died that way, the second "charge-through-the-first-draft" is most of the way through the first draft).
     
  6. RomanticRose
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    RomanticRose Active Member

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    A draft is a draft is a draft. You could call it an outline draft, a rough draft, scrap draft, or a get-the-blinketyblank-out-of-my-head draft. You can call it George if you like. In the beginning steps of writing, I learned to avoid numbering drafts. It got too depressing. As long as you're getting words on paper, and know they need to be polished, you'll be fine. Sometimes, the nomenclature is just another way to procrastinate.
     
  7. sweetchaos
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    sweetchaos Contributing Member

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    I write out my outline first, just a way to get my ideas on paper (or computer if you will). It is essentially just a way to sort events into order. Then I go through and bulk it up with details of the events, maybe seperate it into scenes. Then, and only then, do I get around to actually writing the story.
     
  8. Forgetmenot77
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    Forgetmenot77 Senior Member

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    (A draft is a draft is a draft. You could call it an outline draft, a rough draft, scrap draft, or a get-the-blinketyblank-out-of-my-head draft. You can call it George if you like. In the beginning steps of writing, I learned to avoid numbering drafts. It got too depressing.) LOL...that's how I feel. I like to call mine George...lol. I started mine a couple of weeks ago and it is very slow going. It feels like I am minning for words sometimes.
     
  9. chandler245
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    chandler245 Banned

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    Look, the harder you think about what you want to say the harder it is too let out. Close your eyes and try to let it just flow out. You're thinking to much on it sucking and you need to breath and let your body and mind tdo the talking with out you thinking
     
  10. Aeroflot
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    Aeroflot Senior Member

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    He also said "I write one page of masterpiece to ninety-one pages of ****." ;)
     
  11. hiddennovelist
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    hiddennovelist Contributing Member Contributor

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    Don't be embarrassed because what you write doesn't come out great at first. We've all been there. Sometimes you just have to get the thoughts out of your head and onto paper or a computer screen before we start refining it and turning a flood of ideas into a story. Don't let the fact that you're less than satisfied with your first attempt deter you from working on your story!
     
  12. Dalouise
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    Dalouise Contributing Member

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    I agree. After finishing two novels, I find I am better at editing something that is in front of me. Doing NaNoWriMo was a great help as I was under pressure to get down 50,000 words in 30 days, at the end of that it was relatively easy to improve it and edit. Getting sufficient material down in some sort of order was the struggle - the first novel took two years!
    I call mine draft 1, draft 2, draft 3... and save each one in case I need to back track.
     
  13. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    Who cares what the heck you call it as long as you're getting something done? Terminology doesn't matter until you start sending it to people.
     
  14. crimsonrose
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    crimsonrose Senior Member

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    Agreed. My first draft is descriptive and such, but not nearly as much as I know I can make it. It is filled with grammatical errors, holes in the plot that desperately need to be filled, and the beginning is so boring and abrupt I am surprised my readers on fanfiction.net were able to get hooked to the darned thing.

    My point is, as soon as I feel inspiration, I type like a madwoman, get it onto my laptop, and LATER I go over it, when inspiration has fled and my work begs me to clean it up and make it pretty :) write like you wanna, just make it better later ;)
     
  15. CrazySnakeLady
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    CrazySnakeLady New Member

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    Hello,
    I feel what you are saying- that is how I am like with my writing.

    The best advice I can give you is to just write. It takes practice, and I am sure you will probably not like the first 'pre-draft' you write. Heck, I rewrote parts of chapters several times and I am not happy with it at all still.

    Another suggestion is really to just surf around the forum and read the advice given on the help topics. One truely can never learn too much!

    And well, try to relax about how your writing comes out. I find this the toughest to be honest. But I find that if I just keep going ( I do admit that I fix misspellings, but that is all) as some time passes, it gets a little easier to write the story down. The more I fuss over sentence structure and how it sounds, the more bogged down I get, and then I am just going in circles- write a sentence, fix it, write next one, go back and edit the first one, and next thing I know, so much time went by, and I only have a paragraph written that I still don't even like.

    Learn to have fun writing, even if you don't quite like where its at. You can always polish it later. Also, I find that if I take breaks from writing my main story idea to something completly different, just like a little short story that focuses on one point can be a good exercise as well as a nice little break.

    Good luck!
     
  16. becca
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    becca New Member Contributor

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    Your example sounds like, what I would like to call, your General Draft. Basically getting out the general ideas of what you want to happen in your story. My suggestion is to go as far as you can, generalizing, and when you are done, go back through, and use it to make your basic outline. Like breaking down what you want to happen when, and in what chapter (if it's a novel/chapter book). Even if you have to move stuff around, change the beginning, the ending, add something that you think is important or forget the first time. It's alright! IT IS NOT SUPPOSED TO BE PERFECT THE FIRST TIME THROUGH!

    Then you can start your clean writing. Editing, keeping, discarding. It's all about your own process; find what works for you. The only wrong way is giving up. :)
     
  17. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    'amen' to that!
     
  18. jammyjimmy
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    jammyjimmy New Member

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    I've gotta say that there's some good advice there for everyone.

    I've done this so many different ways, mapping out stories with flowcharts, lists, post-it notes on a wall, or gone the complete opposite end of the scale and blasted a story out just to see where it goes.

    They did all achieve something though - they were a draft.

    It doesn't matter if you get a page with bullets listed on it that tells your story, or if you write it with poor sentences and grammar that looks like its been hit with a nuke.

    A draft is basically an unfinished version of your story - you're gonna go through a few, so don't get bent out of shape about it.
    Just get the gist of it down in whatever format you can work with.

    Best of luck,

    JJ
    :cool:
     
  19. Forgetmenot77
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    Forgetmenot77 Senior Member

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    So we have to meditate while we write?? sorry..I believe I know what you are saying don't worry about it sucking just write. You have to let it flow and it will without you interrupting it with your own self criticism.
     
  20. CharlieVer
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    CharlieVer New Member Contributor

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    First drafts are supposed to be horrible. Just let the ideas flow.

    You could try writing an outline and character sketches.

    I suggest reading books on writing, and specifically, I suggest any of the "How to write a damn good..." series by Frey. It helped me get moving on my novel. (I read, "How to write a damn good mystery.") My first draft is finished, I'm in the redrafting/polishing phase.
     
  21. CharlieVer
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    CharlieVer New Member Contributor

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    He writes pages of asterisks?

    ;)
     
  22. crimsonrose
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    crimsonrose Senior Member

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    Any idea where to get this online, as in a torrent? I want the actual book but it's not in any local stores and I'm too impatient to order it online. lol
     
  23. CharlieVer
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    CharlieVer New Member Contributor

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    I have no idea what a "torrent" means in this context. I immediately thought of a heavy outpouring, as in "torrential rain showers." Dictionary.com wasn't much help beyond the definition I knew. I'm sure you mean something else, but I don't know what.

    I ordered it online. I suggest finding the patience to do so. You might even be able to order it from your local library (if they don't have it they can get it from another library) which requires even more patience, but is wonderfully free.

    You can get especially good deals getting it used on auction sites like ebay. Half.com has a "damn good mystery" for 75 cents plus postage.

    Charlie
     
  24. crimsonrose
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    crimsonrose Senior Member

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    ah, poor thing, sorry about that. A torrent is a way by which to download free things from others
     
  25. CharlieVer
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    CharlieVer New Member Contributor

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    Ah, I see. Thanks. :D

    I'm old (40s) and painfully behind the times. I can't even figure out how to use an MP3 player.

    Charlie
     

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