Wednesday, February 3, 2016

IWSG: First Drafts


Here's my monthly post. Sad that it's always for the Insecure Writer's Support Group. Seems a monthly post is all I can handle right now. Ah well, at least I'm writing. Some.

Thanks to Alex Cavanaugh and his co-hosts for putting this on every month. If you're a writer and would like to join, click on the above link.

Here's something I always notice about my WiP: why, oh why, is the first draft always so darn bad? I know, I know. Perfection comes with the editing. I'd never actually claim the perfection part. The final draft is always loads better than the first draft, though.

But you know, back in the day, authors such as Charles Dickens wrote by hand and when you see copies of their manuscripts with some scratching out and words added and such--the original first draft isn't that bad.

How did they do it?


Do your first drafts get better with experience?

Or is it the modern day, quicker process that allows us to zoom on through the first draft only to pick up the pieces in the editing?

33 comments:

  1. I definitely need extensive editing of any first draft. Good thing I love editing. Good luck with yours.

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    1. I don't mind the editing either, Natalie. But I do think it's easier to edit for other people instead of myself.

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  2. Hi,
    First drafts are exactly what they are first drafts. Very few people can write a first draft that is actually the end product. So, don't worry about the mistakes or whatever.
    Good luck with your writing.
    Shalom,
    Patricia

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    1. I know, Pat. And I'd never get any writing done if I focused on a good first draft. Just...it could be better. LOL.

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  3. I always think that my latest first draft will be a marked improvement over the ones that come before it. And then three red pens later, I change my mind. First drafts are supposed to be terrible. Editing makes them better.

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    1. Haha, "And then three red pens later", that's funny. I know what you mean, though. Thank goodness for editing.

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  4. Hey, if this day keeps you posting, that's good.
    Maybe because they had to write by hand, they spent more time planning and thinking?

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    1. Just struggling with time constraints, Alex. Writing has to come first, social media...later. I think you're right about more planning and thinking before writing. Pen, ink, paper--they were more precious back then.

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  5. I don't know if experience lends to a better first draft. I seem to edit more than I used to! But that could be a more experienced editor in me. Hehehe. Each book is different, though.

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    1. I think I edit more, too, Christine. Gotta get it right!

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  6. I'm not sure if the first draft is better, but my first round of edits is always better thanks to what I've learned and my experience.

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    1. Editing definitely helps, thank goodness!

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  7. My first drafts are still terrible, but I like to think that they're not quite as bad as my very first attempts! I do think writers get better at editing the more they practice/write :). Good luck!

    Rachel Pattinson
    February IWSG Co-host
    rachelpattinson.com

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    1. I agree, Rachel, my subsequent first drafts aren't as bad as my very first one. Yikes! That first one...LOL.

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  8. My first drafts are better in some ways than they used to be. I do less showing and more telling and I've gotten better at making every scene count to move the story forward. But with experience, I also recognize more things that can be improved. Maybe you're a better writer so your first drafts only seem like they're as bad as ever.

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    1. I'm definitely more mindful now than I was with my first book, Susan, so my current first drafts are not quite as bad. But still. I cringe just thinking about how it currently sits there all crappy-like, waiting for badly needed edits. LOL.

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  9. I'm not sure my first drafts have gotten better. I still scratch out a lot of words and rewrite a lot. It's all part of the process I guess and I wouldn't worry too much about it.

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    1. I go back and forth about if I should worry about it or not. Haha! So silly, I know.

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  10. After seven books, I think mine have improved. I can catch dumb mistakes before I commit them to paper.

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    1. For me, it's more than just dumb mistakes. It's dumb writing, LOL.

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  11. Each draft depends on the writer. Time does also bring improvement, that and practice, practice.

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    1. I know, Sheena-Kay. I do need more practice, even after 3 books!

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  12. It depends on the story. Some of my short stories are pretty good, but most of my novel length fiction needs super-editor help. And, some of my short stories are terrible. It seems to depend on the project.

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    1. Mine always seems to be good at first, but then I get impatient and start rushing.

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  13. My first drafts are horrid things, barely equivalent to minor plot outlining. Work work. But, gotta get through it :)

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    1. LOL, why does that make me feel better, Donna?

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  14. Blogging can be pretty overwhelming sometimes, so there's no shame in posting just once per month! And oh, life would be so much easier if first drafts were perfect right from the get-go. Too bad they're too evil to let that happen! XD

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  15. You know, I always assumed my first drafts would get better in time, but they don't. I just remind myself that first draft is always fertilizer.

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    1. Fertilizer, haha! That's a good name for it.

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  16. Weeelllll, I think Dickens could have lopped out several hundred words -- if he wasn't getting paid by the word -- and today we would have expected him to. ;)

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  17. I scratch my head over that question of how did they do it. I'm trying to imagine myself with a quill and a piece of paper, dipping, scratching, editing. Egads! And no spell check, either.

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