The Ugly First Draft

Posted on September 14, 2013
First drafts are like the first step to a long, arduous, Statue-Of-Liberty climb to publishing. It's the product of all the ideas in your head that have been flurrying around for months, maybe years. It's the remains of sleepless nights, multiple rewrites and sometimes elimination of whole chapters. The first rough draft is a collection of ideas, in its rawest story-telling form, that will eventually be thrown out, replaced, or improved upon.

It is the hope, the dream, of your characters to be enjoyed, developed, and perfected to a point where they feel real. Your dreams are littered with images of the protagonist, evil deeds of the villain, and the sublime yet subtle actions of the extended cast. You can see the green skeletal leaves on your imaginary trees, get lost in the deep blue hue in the eyes of your hero, and taste the fruity flavor of the Merlot in your romantic moments. It's all in the first draft, hidden between the lines, hanging on to your finger tips until you write it down. The details are waiting to be dug out, to be cultivated into the rich characters and plot you know to be true.

The ugly first draft is complete. The easy part is over.  Now comes the editing. This is where the work really begins.


  1. Did you just finish a first draft? Good for you!

    I loathe writing the first draft. In many ways, I love it. But thinking about it makes me cringe a little. I stand by my first reaction. I loathe the first draft :)

  2. :-) I know what you mean. I've accomplished something, but it doesn't feel like much yet. Need to start editing...soon.

  3. Amen, sistah. Amen. I just finished my hundredth revision, and finally handed my MS over to my editor. So now I'm free of it - until - I get it back from her....and then I start all over again. GAH. Good luck to you!

  4. Thanks bethteliho. I'm just on my first revision and its usually the longest. I'm sure I'll be done by the time namwrimo starts. It will be refreshing to write something new.