What are we talking about today?

Some days have themes. I don't necessarily post something in each of these topic areas every week.

Sunday: Church-related or spiritual things.
Monday: Running.
Tuesday: Books.
Wednesday: Transportation.
Friday: Green living.

07 April 2011

F is for First Drafts

You'll have to just draw a picture in your mind today, because I'm on the wrong computer and don't have my usual access to the wonders of free photography.

First drafts! I've written a lot of them in my lifetime. I've written many, many more first drafts than final drafts, and even turned in some first drafts as final drafts in my time (hey, I was in primary school; I didn't know that revision even existed back then!). For years I had this lovely lovely idea that Laura Wilder or Beverly Cleary wrote in exactly the same way I did-- start to finish, with everything "perfect" the first time.

Then I went to middle school and was disabused of such ideas. And now that I'm in contact with other writers all the time, any chance of such fantasies ever returning is blessedly nil.

But first drafts are fun, though. (Term used loosely; I do prefer revision.) Ideas flow from brain to page, unencumbered by such things as continuity. The muse, when she is cooperating, is hard at work. Words obediently line up into sentences that will later send me facepalming as I wonder what exactly I meant when I wrote "Greasy fingers aren't guitar strings". Vast quantities of caffeine are consumed, bedtimes are ignored, showers are optional, friends give up at attempting reasonable conversation.

It's wonderful. And then you can shove the whole thing in a drawer and not worry about it for a couple of months.

Is writing a first draft (of anything; doesn't have to be a novel) exhilarating for you? Or do you prefer revision? Editing? Share your writing preferences here.

22 comments:

mybabyjohn said...

Type the post, put it in draft, revisit it a few days later, delete it, start again, put it in draft, revisit it a few days later.....

Tiger85 said...

I definitely think writing the first draft feels the best because you just write with your heart. Later when you edit you realize how many mistakes you made or you no longer like this scene. At the end it is all worth it but it takes time. =)

http://tigeronmybookshelf.blogspot.com/

Heather Hellmann said...

I love writing first drafts. It's fun discovering what happens next in my story.

Margaret Hall said...

Actually, I find a "rush" with the 1st draft because I think that our stored up thoughts sorta' spill out onto the page..?..But, I do tweak before sending it out to someone...
Good posting...

http://timeforabucketlist.blogspot.com/
http://imagesinthought.blogspot.com/
http://the-old-story-tree.blogspot.com/
http://bagladythoughts.blogspot.com/

Laura Marcella said...

I like writing the first draft! Even though I'm a plotter, there's still so much to discover as I write the first draft. Bit first draft revisions are overwhelming for me because there's a lot to fix...but after that initial revision, fixing it up is as much fun for me as writing the first draft!

Kittie Howard said...

I love the first draft. All the good stuff comes pouring out. Then, it's down to serious business, ie, the delete button.

Thank you for bringing up a really good topic. Lots to think about here.

Sand Castles and Snow Forts said...

Oh to fill a blank page with thought! I love a first draft. It's the pouring out of the soul for me!

JEFritz said...

I love first drafts! Of course, as a pantser, it's my first introduction to the story and the first chance for me to immerse myself in the world. And I just love seeing where everything goes.

As for editing, I do enjoy it when I'm actually adding to the story and characters. The only time it really frustrates me is when I'm doing the line-editing stuff (I'd rather be writing!).

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I prefer editing. I just want to get the story out on paper where I can see it and start to really mold it. Then the fun begins.

Jeanne said...

I like to edit. My first draft is fun. Actually it is more like first phrases. THen on to drafting and editing. Great piece.

bluepurpleandscarlett said...

I love first drafts. Several times I've gone back to first drafts after an extended period of time and liked it better than the final revision! The more I edit, the less natural it seems. I don't do a lot of writing these days, but that's been my experience. Enjoyed your post!

Michelle Mach said...

I prefer revision. I like adding structure and sense to a piece. First drafts are hard and fictional first drafts are the hardest of all.

Donna said...

I actually like both. I like the creativity of my imagination in my first drafts. And then I like the revision because it strengthens the story.

Su said...

@mybabyjohn: That's pretty much what I do, too. Except the past couple of days, when I've written them last-minute.

@Tiger: It's remarkable the things that escape from the brain and into the first draft!

@Heather: Guess you aren't a plotter, then?

@Margaret: It's the spilling part that's fun, I think!

@Laura: That's interesting... I feel the opposite about edits. I like the first one, but subsequent ones start to get tedious.

@Kittie: Ah, the almighty delete button.

@Sand Castle: What a great image-- filling a blank page with thought. Cool!

@JE: Oh, yeah, I bet pansters do prefer first drafts.

@Diane: You are speaking my language! While writing it the first time is fun, I love the revising so that I have something to work with!

@Jeanne: Cool idea-- first phrases.

@blue: Wow, that's cool. I think I would cry if I did all the work to get to a final revision and like the first draft better, though.

@Michelle: Yeah, I think so, too. Even though I like all stages, revision is my favourite.

@Donna: Yay, someone who likes them both! Bet your stories never feel neglected.

Trisha said...

Writing a first draft is awesome and freeing, because I don't have to care at the time if it's good or not. Then again, I am quite invigorated by revision too ;)

Su said...

Yay! Another of the I-like-both crowd! :)

J. D. Brown said...

Writing first drafts is hard for me because I have the urge to go back and correct them immediately, before I finish the draft. It drives me nuts. It's not that I enjoy editing, either. It's just an impulse.

Found you on the A to Z Challenge

J.D.

Charlie's Church of Christ said...

I love the spontaneous just writing from the heart but I hate second guessing myself later on. I think I prefer first draft as it feels so natural and real.

Michelle in a shell said...

I like the fact you're using the word fun loosely- there's not much fun about a first draft! so much so that I refused to revise my earlier school papers. Oh the days when I wasn't a perfectionist...

Su said...

@JD: Oh, yeah, the inner editor. I can usually shut her up with cookies. ;)

@Charlie: Cool. Well put.

@Michelle: I use so many words loosely that I lose track! ;)

J.L. Campbell said...

I enjoy the sense of adventure I get at the start of each new story. Editing...not so fun until I'm in the middle of it and making progress.

Su said...

Yep, sense of adventure is good!