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Monday, March 19, 2012

Our Brains and First Drafts


First drafts are meant for no eyes but your own your eyes only. It shows your brain’s progress. It highlights a secret process;  It shows how your brain works.

I can’t know for sure know about you but I for darn sure don’t want anyone to see in that.  I prefer to keep this process to myself.

The My first draft is messy, full of redundancy, thinking out loud, and falling-down-two-flights-of-stairs onto a concrete floor awful. 


Then along comes Second Draft.

I make deep cuts; edit out the shitty crappy poor grammar, the echoes, and all unnecessary words that do not contribute. Words that bubble out of my brainpan do not necessarily flow as well on the page.

Because my first drafts were so shitty crappy bad and the edits extensive, I wondered if I was alone wrestling the story my brain was putting out into a coherent tale.

Enter two books 

Writing Tools 
by Roy Peter Clark 


On Writing by Stephen King.

Both show the authors' first drafts and then their edited versions with strikeouts and re-writes. One of Mr. King’s comments struck a chord. He said this process is true even for ‘professional writers’, following the roller coaster ride that is your brain.

Like life, it can get untidy, this editing process. Don’t get discouraged.

Birth can get is messy. Creating a story is no exception.



Stina Lindenblatt said...

I know people who send out their first drafts for critting. No way for me. I wait several drafts for that. My second draft is to make sure all the major elements work. There's no point polishing it at this point and ignoring the plot holes. For me, those involve different parts of my writing brain. If I focus on one, then the other part will miss mistakes. I know this from experience. :(

1000th.monkey said...

Oddly enough, my first drafts are surprisingly clean :) I don't have much of a problem submitting them for critique... like I have done here a number of times.

Angela Brown said...

I've done the "check out my first draft" bit before. Boy, that's when I learned that paper can bleed, as in deep-cut-someone-plug-this-thing-before-it-gets-dead bleed

Even with my second drafts, blood spray is all over the place, but not quite as bad.

And I like how you did this post. Very smart attacking two birds with one stone: not just telling but showing.

Donna Hole said...

I self edit at least three times before sending anything out to crit partners. Drives my ftf group nuts cuz I'm the only one who won't let them see the original. Unless I'm really stuck on something.

I've got On Writing on my bookcase - maybe I should move it to the top of the computer so all that insight can bleed into my writing :)


N.Scott said...

I have the tendency to edit while I'm writing. It's a terrible habit because it makes it very difficult to get to the end even though the end is written in my head. As I'm writing I get better ideas and I just can't go on without using them. I'm afraid I'll forget.

So I guess my question is, at what point is it the first draft? When you write The End?

Huntress said...

To me it means the stuff that dribbles from my brain first. Any time I go back and edit, it becomes second draft.