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  1. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributor Contributor

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    First Drafts and Batting Averages

    Discussion in 'Insights & Inspiration' started by Simpson17866, Oct 9, 2017.

    Ted Williams, The Greatest Hitter Of All Time, ended his career with a lifetime batting average of 0.344 (that's 344 hits for every 1000 swings), and was the last hitter ever to get an average of over 0.400 over the course of a given year (0.406 in 1941).

    Ty Cobb ended his career in 1928 with what stands as the highest lifetime batting average of all time (0.366) and hit 0.400 in 3 different years (0.420 in 1911, 0.409 in 1912, and 0.401 in 1922).

    Hugh Duffy holds the record for highest batting average in a single season (0.440 in 1894)

    These were the superstars that the other superstars wanted to get autographs from. They always failed over 50% of the time, and they almost always failed over 60% of the time.

    Hugh Duffy's lifetime batting average was 0.326. He failed more than twice as many times as he succeeded.

    First drafts work the same way. If a writer has a writing average of 0.333 (1 good draft for every 3 total drafts), then that means each book averaged 2 horrible drafts before getting to the good one. If a writer can write 2 books in only 5 drafts instead of 6, then that's a short-term writing average of 0.400.

    Don't expect your first draft to be good, because it definitely won't be. Don't expect the second draft to be good, because it probably won't be good either. And maybe not even the third one.

    But that's how Ted Williams and Ty Cobb and Hugh Duffy became legendary :)
     
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  2. Foxxx

    Foxxx The Debonair Contributor

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    Thanks Simpson for the confidence boost.

    And perhaps related, I recall Hemingway saying that the first draft of anything is shit.

    A little harsh. But the fact remains that the point of a first draft is not to be perfect. It's to get the story down, even if it's crappy. That way you actually have a whole, completed piece to work with. It's easier to improve your story once it's all down on paper.
     
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  3. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributor Contributor

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    Of course Hemmingway would have the TLDR version :D
     
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  4. 8Bit Bob

    8Bit Bob Member

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    Thanks fort he inspiration, this honestly made my day :-D
     
  5. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin I got more game than Parker Brothers...

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    Hell, you can hit .270 now and be a hall of famer so long as you draw walks and hit for power. And you only need to have one good year (book) to get that big fat contract!
     
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  6. Antaus

    Antaus Member

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    That's something I learned as well, FDs are shit. But then you're literally just trying to get the story from brain to paper, or keyboard. That's why it takes so long for me to write a story. I'll hack it all out on the laptop, then read over it, hate it, and try to improve it. Honestly I am my own worst critic, but at the same time I know when I'm at my final draft and ready to post something.
     
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  7. Lew

    Lew Member Supporter Contributor

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    Never look back on your first draft. Press forward to the end. Writing requires a positive attitude, editing requires a critical attitude as @Antaus has noted, and the two are incompatible. Don't mix them if you want to finish. Minor SPaG and basics excepted, I always edit each chapter for those, then give to @K McIntyre for another scrub, but then that chapter is done until THE END is reached.
     
  8. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributor Contributor

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    I personally find that I'm pretty good at editing on the go, but you're absolutely right that this process isn't for everyone.
     
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  9. Antaus

    Antaus Member

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    I've published a few stories on sites around the net, although it's fan fiction. For me that's mostly practice until I work on getting my original works professionally published.
     
  10. K McIntyre

    K McIntyre Active Member

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    I also find that if I recognize a logic misque or a time sequence glitch, I have to go back and fix it before I can press on. I try not to do that too much though.
     
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  11. EdFromNY

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I'm a firm believer that the first draft is the writer telling him/herself he story.
     
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  12. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    I don't think first drafts have to be crap or terrible, and it's certainly not something I would just accept as fact. I work just as hard to write my first draft as I do when I am editing or rewriting something.
     
  13. K McIntyre

    K McIntyre Active Member

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    Agreed. I figure, if my first draft is pretty good, then I have less editing and re-editing and re-editing ... to do later on.
     
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  14. Shenanigator

    Shenanigator Active Member

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    This. I'm one who edits and revises during the first draft as well. Otherwise I'm too distracted to tell the best story.

    "Rules" are meant to be broken.
     
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  15. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    @K McIntyre and @Shenanigator -- Good to know I'm not alone in this approach. Many, many years ago I wrote a novel. I wrote and wrote and didn't look back and then I had no idea how to even begin cleaning the mess up. I've started other novels, but the push-through-to-the-end advice just doesn't work for me. The messier the story gets, the less I want to work on it. Now, I am taking my time and cleaning things up along the way or going back to add or delete something to better the story down the road. I probably did at least a half dozen drafts on chapter 1. Chapter 1 is solid. Chapter 1 is awesome. I haven't got a chance to say that before about a novel in progress.
     
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  16. K McIntyre

    K McIntyre Active Member

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    I spent a great deal of last Saturday cleaning up some messy stuff in my WIP. Now, after having talked to my daughter about it, I have a bunch more to do. My main character is a young woman who goes through hell - white trafficked, raped, forced into prostitution - like I said, hell. Anyway, my daughter worked in the domestic violence arena for many years, so she s my sounding board on what makes sense and what doesn't. Glad I asked her now, and not when the novel is done!
     
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  17. Lew

    Lew Member Supporter Contributor

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    Way to go, @K McIntyre!. Ten more to go! Plan on listing tonight!
     
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  18. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    Someone acting as a sounding board is so important for writers, I think. I'm lucky that I too have someone I can talk through aspects of my novel to make sure everything makes sense and works. I would even go as far to say that someone being a sounding board can often times be more useful than a beta reader. I would say that is at least true while close to the beginning or maybe anytime.
     
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  19. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributor Contributor

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    Absolutely. One of my main protagonists has been struggling with PTSD since she was 15, and I'm always ready to share my notes with anybody who's familiar with the subject and who'd be willing to double check that I'm not misunderstanding something crucial.
     
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