1. FirstTimeNovelist91
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    FirstTimeNovelist91 Senior Member

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    My first draft is awful

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by FirstTimeNovelist91, Jul 11, 2012.

    So I have six chapters completed, and I am editing through the chapters. They are horribly written, and it is bumming me out!

    Is this normal? When you look at your first draft, do you become a little depressed about it?
     
  2. The Eternal Learner
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    The Eternal Learner New Member

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    I do get bored reading my own work... I usually have to take some time away from it, at least a week, when that happens. Then I can read it more objectively.
     
  3. aimeekath
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    aimeekath Senior Member

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    I totally get depressed when I read through my first draft, and I think this is probably the same for most writers. But that's the whole point of editing and creating second and third drafts.
     
  4. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think you should finish your first draft entirely before going back and editing it. If you edit as you write (and it sounds like you are fairly early in, but already editing), you'll never get anything written. You may discover later on that you need to change the beginning. I say, if you're getting depressed by editing your work, step back from it and continue writing it. Then step back from it for a bit. You'll do a better job editing that way.
     
  5. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    'The first draft of anything is shit' - Ernest Hemmingway.

    Honestly, if your first draft is awful who cares? That's what redrafts are for!
     
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  6. Complex
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    Complex Senior Member

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    Don't look back. Don't look back! Finish it before you have the urge to destroy it.
     
  7. Langadune
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    Langadune Member

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    Most successful writers (with the exception of Robert Heinlein) will tell you they are terrible writers and excellent re-writers (or some variation of that)
     
  8. killbill
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    killbill Contributing Member

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    The problem will be when you are not aware your first draft is shit. Anyway, what will you be if your first draft is good for submission for publishing? A super-writer? And there are no such being as a super-writer.
     
  9. Darkkin
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    Darkkin Reflection of a nobody Contributor

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    Following the footprints in the sand...
    'It is a universally acknowledged truth, that all first drafts, no matter the writer, are awful...' - Thank you Jane Austen, please don't come back to haunt me...;) See your story through to the end and then bleed it dry. Repeatedly. It will come through, anything not meant to remain will fall away with proper maintenance and pruning.

    - Darkkin
     
  10. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    First drafts are usually shit. Most writers race through their first drafts in order to get their whole story down on paper, then go back and revise from the beginning. First drafts written like that tend to be ugly, sloppy, shallow, and amateurish.

    Personally, I get really depressed and demotivated if I write a bad first draft. This is why I revise as I go. By the time I finish my "first" draft, just about every paragraph in it has been gone over and (usually) rewritten, often five or six times. The result is a "first" draft that's actually pretty good. I still have a lot of work to do on it, but that's mostly to fix structural and focus problems that result from lots of trial and error story exploration during the writing of the first draft.

    So, yeah. If you're not willing to bust your ass revising as you go, you can expect to face 500 pages of dreck when it comes time to write your second draft. I don't have the stomach for that sort of thing, but good luck!
     
  11. FirstTimeNovelist91
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    FirstTimeNovelist91 Senior Member

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    Whew...I'm glad I'm not the only one with this problem. I looked through my writing and, while it got better as I went along, I really think I'm going to need a kickbutt editor b/c my sh- stinks...lol.
     
  12. Youniquee
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    Youniquee (◡‿◡✿) Contributor

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    Lol...of course it's going to crap. What were you expecting? It's hard to get something like writing a novel right on the first time. So don't be discouraged! Just keep writing and getting everything down! I don't even bother looking back at my writing...if I did, I'll be on the same page forever...imo.
     
  13. cobaltblue
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    cobaltblue Member

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    Oh yeah, first drafts are always cringe-worthy.

    Don't worry about it, think of it like building with Lego. You have to empty the whole box out into a big pile and see what you've got, before you start organising and making sense of it all. Your first draft is a big pile of words, editing is where you go back and sift through those words - see which ones you like, see where you have to rearrange, throw away the ones that really don't work.

    A lot of people like to get the whole story out before going back to do any editing. I like to write for a while, then go back and edit, rethink, rewrite for a while before moving on to the next part of the story. Find what method works best for you.
    Don't lose heart.
     
  14. Admin
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    Admin Contributing Member

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    I think John Green once said that you end up, quite literally, throwing away 80% or more of your first draft. So don't feel bad at all. It's a process, and that process takes time and dedication. Just stick to your guns, take a break every now and again, and keep chugging away at it.
     
  15. FirstTimeNovelist91
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    FirstTimeNovelist91 Senior Member

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    80%? Oh wow...that is alot...and I have only 36k words so far.

    Thanks everyone!
     
  16. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Not so much now, but when i first started getting serious about writing, I could see the difference in writing quality between the newest scribblings and the oldest in the same draft.

    But look at it this way - it can only get better as you edit it.
     
  17. Show
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    Show Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's depressing, I suppose. But hey, if you recognize that it sucks, then at least you're one big step on the way to improving it. :)
     
  18. michaelj
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    michaelj Senior Member

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    I get depressed because I give it my all in the first draft... I don't "scribble" my story and rush it ahead for a redraft. Atm I'm growing more depressed about my story because... I don't know why, my heart is saying give up but my head is saying carry on.
     
  19. Youniquee
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    Youniquee (◡‿◡✿) Contributor

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    I don't scribble my story and I do give it my all.. but I can accept that I can do better and there will always be room for improvement. Thus the redraft. Concentrating on the first draft just means less work in the editing process.
    Don't give up. When you give up, it's all over and you won't get anywhere! Keep going. No one said this was going to be easy :3
     
  20. michaelj
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    michaelj Senior Member

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    I don't know why I feel like this tbh. :/ Generally I've liked the criticism I've receieved and I feel its been quite positive. So I don't know why I feel this way... Perhaps I'm in need of a break.
     
  21. Thumpalumpacus
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    Thumpalumpacus Contributing Member

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    It doesn't really depress me. I write the thing first, and then revise. The first draft, my Inner Critic is banished. He isn't allowed in the same room, much less the same headspace. Only when I have finished the work do I take a little time away from it, and then go back to revise it. And when I do, I give my Inner Critic the power of veto. He's a brutal sonofabitch, too.

    Most of this process of mine refers to songwriting, which thus far has been my main creative endeavor. I do this with my prose as well, though, and it seems to be useful in that field as well. In music, it has seen songs broken up and parts used elsewhere instead, where they fit better. In prose, it means letting go of passages or sections which may have endeared themselves to me emotionally, once I see that they do not serve the story.
     
  22. live2write
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    live2write Contributing Member

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    Whatever you do, do not delete it or throw it away. Keep it! I always keep my writings no matter how terrible I think about it. You never know when somebody reads it and says "hey you have something here but it needs improvement."

    When I revise my work I have my draft either printed out or on the left side of my computer screen. On the right I rewrite the story and revise what I have previously written.

    All writers go through this and make mistakes. Now it is your chance to fix it and make it right.
     
  23. Cassiopeia Phoenix
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    Cassiopeia Phoenix Contributing Member

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    Yes, it is awful. That is why is called draft. Especially with a "first" before it. ;)

    Don't be too hard on yourself because of this. Keep in mind that's what editing is for... Not to mention, I think not deleting it is a good idea. If you keep all your drafts, you have a bank of all ideas you ever had.

    It might be useful, who knows?
     
  24. NeedMoreRage
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    NeedMoreRage Member

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    I used to be like that, but not so much anymore. Your first drafts will get better with practice.
     
  25. JonSpear360
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    JonSpear360 Member

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    +1

    I totally agree with this. Especially with the size of of hard drives and thumb drives now, there is absolutely NO reason to ever delete any draft. When you finish draft one, save it, copy and paste it into a new document, and name it TITLE draft 2 or something like that. Keep them all! It is awesome to go back after three or four drafts and read the original story. Or to go back to your first draft of your first novel, after finishing your third.

    Keep each and every document!
     

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