Monday, November 23, 2009

First Draft Done

This morning, I got up around 5:00, awakened by the incessant meowing of the world's most insistent alarm clock, my cat, Snickers. I made myself my oversized mug of Swiss Miss hot chocolate. And I finished writing Chapter 10 of the first draft of the new chapter book, which means that the entire first draft is now done.

Some writers - most? - say that they hate to write first drafts, they just have to force themselves somehow to get through a first draft, and then they can settle down to the true joy of writing, which is rewriting, taking that half-baked, embarrassing thing and turning it into a slightly more baked, less embarrassing thing, watching the story strengthen, the characters deepen, before their very eyes.

Well, I do love revision. But secretly I love writing the first draft most. I love everything about it. I write my first drafts with a pen on paper; subsequent drafts I do on the computer - and I love best writing with a pen on paper. I love watching the pages mount up, line by line by line. I love finding out what happens, the same way the reader would find it out; I love hearing my characters say and do things I didn't ever plan for them to say and do. Subsequent drafts are always more deliberate, intentional - I think hard in subsequent drafts about what has to be added, subtracted, changed, to produce a more coherent, unified, suspenseful, funny story. But the first draft just . . . happens, just emerges on the page. For me, while subsequent drafts are where the true craftsmanship of writing shows, the first draft is where the magic is - it's where the elves miraculously appear in the night and do their fairy stitching.

Even as I say this, I do have to confess that in just about every single one of my books, my favorite scene ended up being a scene I added in the very last draft, after months and months of revision. So there is plenty of wonderment later on as well.

But there is still nothing like that first draft - that maiden voyage of discovery, when you just might set off for India and end up in a new and completely unexpected world.


  1. Your blog is great! English language learners,offers- outstanding, exciting, interactive training strategies for all learners.Our trainers are experienced, enthusiastic, knowledgeable practitioners.

  2. I'm thinking of writing a book myself - maybe an ebook - so I will re-visit your site soon

    Physics Tutorials, Physics Tutorial