1. Lemushroom
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    Lemushroom New Member

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    Terrible first drafts

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Lemushroom, Feb 26, 2012.

    Hi! Im currently working on my first draft of my novel and im wondering is it ok that its awful? For the first draft I really just want to get all of my ideas out there and form the outline of the story, then for the future drafts polish it up into something that resembles a good novel. Is this a good strategy or should I try to make my first draft a little neater?
     
  2. Phoenix Hikari
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    Phoenix Hikari Contributing Member

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    I usually do that. Since I don't like note making, bullet points organizing, I tend to just write and ideas come to me whenever. So, I don't think it's a bad thing to just write down the story simply to put the whole idea down, when you edit it afterwards you might change many things and add more.

    That's my opinion. I do the same thing you do and I find it okay. Just one thing, sometimes when I get lack of inspiration or feel less likely to write, I go over the parts I already wrote and edit them. Makes it easier to future reviewing since it helps you keep track of what you wrote.

    Some writers might see that as a complete disaster though. :3
     
  3. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Some make the first draft their only draft, others will go through myriad revisions - and there are countless writers in the spectrum between. Don't be afraid to experiment, but there's absolutely nothing wrong with this method if it's working for you.
     
  4. munkyphile
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    munkyphile Member

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    That's pretty much the way that I write. No one expects a first draft to be a masterpiece. I usually won't show anyone anything of mine, even for critique until at least the 3rd or 4th draft. Granted, I write poetry, not prose, but it's the same process I think. Just like other crafts, there are valuable steps involved: painters have to prime and prepare their canvas, sculptors and carvers line up their tools, seamstresses start with choosing fabrics and threads. The first steps of any masterpiece are rarely thrilling.
     
  5. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    For me, an outline is not a first draft. First draft is when I've given it a good go to write sensibly, follow a structure and the plot, where my characters and dialogue are well fleshed out and I have wordage reasonably close to novel length. Everything before that, snippets of dialogue, interesting scenes, plot ideas, characters etc. I consider just an outline, and in it I don't bother much with good prose or precise continuity because it is just a planning stage.
    In any case, like others said, there are many ways to do it, and usually multiple re-writes are needed to bring any story up to the publishing standard.
     
  6. Erato
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    Erato Contributing Member

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    I'm not experienced, but I tend to like to stick with my first draft and just revise it. I don't do many rewrites. For many people this is the road to disaster, however, and if you need to write it over a few times, steadily improving it, then that's what works for you.
     
  7. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think it's a good strategy since it seems to come naturally to you. No one is supposed to read that first draft anyway, so it doesn't have to be neat. If you feel it's the best way to get the story on paper and then starting to polish it then you should do that way. There is no right or wrong, the important thing is that it works for you and that you get the story written. I do pretty much the same thing, so I know it can definitely turn into a decent final draft anyway.
     
  8. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm organic in my writing. My first draft might be part outline, part more fleshed out scenes and chapters, part pure rubbish. Then I just work on it, adding a bit here, polishing a bit there, changing things around, chopping out bits and putting in new bits. Do what works for you, and it doesn't matter how rubbish it is. It's only for you.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  9. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    If you expect your first draft to be perfect, you'll just never write... In other words, yup what you're already doing is just fine! You simply don't see all the problems and flaws unless you get it onto paper first and see how it all comes together, and you can't see that until well, you write it.
     
  10. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you expect your last draft to be perfect, you'll just never publish...

    Never expect perfection.
     
  11. dred
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    dred Member

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    There is nothing wrong with a first draft being all over the place. My first draft is usually out of place, with notes and appendixes all over the place. That is what a first draft is, getting all your thoughts and written story on paper(or computer), then working it over. In my case my first draft looks nothing like the second, and or final draft, as I right any thoughts I have as to where the story could or should be taken.
     
  12. TheWritingWriter
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    TheWritingWriter Senior Member

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    It's fine to have a rough first draft. Every writer writes differently. I outline a bit of work (a chapter, a scene, it doesn't matter) & then I'll write it & just push though. I try not to stop and worry too much on a certain paragraph or a certain sentence because that's how I normally get stuck in a writer's block. I just write, and when I'm finished with that bit, I go back and revise like all get out. I can add pages simply from making revisions & adding details. After I'm happy with that revision session, I'll move on to the next bit chapter and do the same thing. When I come to a stopping point, I revise it all together, make sure it flows & works.

    I think you just have to experiment & find out what system works best for you. Everyone works differently. Don't put pressure on yourself to expect your first draft to be perfect. Think of your first draft as an incomplete thought that you have to keep working on until you find out what you want to do with it.
     
  13. killbill
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    killbill Contributing Member

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    A neat first draft is always good, but if it is getting in the way of getting out your ideas then neatness can be achieved at a later draft. To have the ability to know your first draft is terrible is also a good thing, if this makes you feel better. Bad writers just don' t have that ability.
     
  14. Foxe
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    Foxe Active Member

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    I think that it's a good idea to just write it out and edit later, the only thing is that you have to prepare yourself to resist disappointment. Remember that it's your first draft and not the final product and that there is always work to be done. So don't let it discourage you

    Foxe
     
  15. Jowettc
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    Jowettc Contributing Member

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    Whatever floats your boat - but yes most peoples first drafts are dreadful - mine is truly dire and gives me the shivers just thinking about it. Just keep trying, keep learning and keep searching for that elusive - YES! moment.
     
  16. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    It's a first draft. Of course there's nothing to be ashamed of if it's awful.

    I wrote 60,000 words into my first book, then put it aside and am now reworking the entire plot. That 60,000 words is embarrassingly bad starting at around chapter 6 or 7, but it was a necessary step for my writing progress. If I hadn't written all that, I wouldn't have gone through the plot-reworking process that is leading me to something that's actually good.

    Don't worry about it. The most important thing is that you're actually writing, not procrastinating. Don't let fear of being bad stop you. :)
     
  17. hankesj
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    hankesj New Member

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    I kind of just wrote a thread about this same issue. As a beginning writer or even a writer who has a few novels under their belt, it's intimidating and nerve wracking to know how awful your first draft is but after each re-write and revision session, it's incredible to see the difference. I highly recommend that you keep all your drafts together and then sit down after a few revisions and place the 1st, 2nd, 3rd (you get the picture) next to each other and just look at how much you improved from the first draft. Remember that every writer has to start somewhere and the likelihood of anyones first draft being spectacular is extremely slim.
     
  18. wilprim
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    wilprim Member

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    Ya... my first drafts look horrible usually. There will be like 10 different stories going on in one, each one totally unrelated to the others. So... ya I would say its okay to have a horrible first draft from my experience.
     
  19. TDFuhringer
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    TDFuhringer Contributing Member Contributor

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    My first drafts are atrocious. It's totally okay for your first draft to be dreadful. What's important is that you finish it. And you should finish it in the format that works for you. If an outline works for you, use that. Me, my first drafts are a complete story, though they tend to wander and are missing key details and have awful grammar... you get the idea.

    Everybody tells me my writing is good. That's because I've never, ever showed anyone my first drafts. No one but me has ever seen earlier than a second revision. By the second revision, it had better be good or at least approaching it. :)
     
  20. joanna
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    joanna Active Member

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    It doesn't matter, if you're not making anybody read it.
     
  21. JimmyM
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    JimmyM New Member

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    My first draft is nearly complete (only three and a half chapters to go!) and it's intended to look like a book.

    That doesn't mean it's finished (I have plenty of edits to make and another minor thread to weave through) but I have done my best with spelling and grammar as I have progressed. I didn't want to leave too much work when I finally returned to chapter one!

    I'm actually looking forward to the editing process and plan to pay particular attention to sentence structure. I have a feeling that sections of my 1st draft could feature a little 'purple prose' and I'm hoping to simplify.

    Wish me luck!
     
  22. DaVinci
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    DaVinci Banned

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    True writing is in the rewrite.
     
  23. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    ... whenever that is. :D
     
  24. superpsycho
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    superpsycho Contributing Member

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    Do whatever works for you. Sometimes it can take some experimentation before you figure it out. Whatever it takes to succeed. (well, as long as it isn't illegal, don't hurt anyone else to bad or leaves a mark)
     
  25. jc.
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    jc. Contributing Member

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    My drafts are varying degrees of awful. Some parts are less abysmal than others.
     

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