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Mr. First Draft's Wild Ride

I've recently come to realize that it's totally okay if my first drafts have a mild case of schizophrenia.

When I picture how I want the book to be before writing it, I'll usually get myself a nice firm grasp of the story and characters in outlines/lists so that I feel ready to bust it out. But then I'll actually start writing it and soon get all confuzzled as to why on earth it's not pouring out of my brain and on to the page with effortless stride.

At first, I was really confused as to why it could possibly take so long to bust out a first draft when I had a bright and shiny outline to lead the way. Then I thought duh, we all know that besides the structure of the story, the other key element is the perfect voice.

But who knew that finding it could sometimes take tens of thousands of words?!

In the past, that very problem had a huge impact on my writing speed. Since I was struggling to get a grip on the voice, I'd recognize when it changed and felt obligated to edit as I went.

So, how long would this usually take me?

Everyone has their own writing style for sure, and some people will always be edit-as-they-goers, but in my case I was forced to re-evaluate my process because it wasn't as efficient as I wanted.

I came to the conclusion that it's okay if the first draft has different voices throughout, because:

A) First drafts always suck, it's a reality, and no matter how hard we'd like to dance around that little fact it's next to impossible.

B) Since first drafts always suck, there will be

blood, um I mean editing. And once you truly do find the voice, it'll stick hard enough to make fixing it in the earlier part of the draft much easier than you're probably imagining.

So, I guess that's my most recent 'aha!' moment as far as writing goes. I was seriously stuck on a scene in my WIP and went without writing for days, which is totally not conducive to being all like LET'S FINISH THIS BISH ASAP! Once I realized that I was stuck because I simply was not yet comfortable with the voice, forcing myself to go on became easier.

So go ahead. Play around with the voices until they're so different you can hardly stand to read through that sucker when it's finished.

That's the glorious beauty of first drafts.
Amy Lukavics

Amy lurks within the forested mountains of Arizona. When she isn't reading or writing creepy stories, she enjoys cooking, crafting, and playing games across many platforms. She is the author of Daughters Unto Devils (Harlequin Teen 2015) and The Women In The Walls (Harlequin Teen 2016).

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  1. This concept just clicked with me. I don't suck, I just don't have the voice down yet. That sounds good to say! ;)

  2. Very cool post. Finding the right voice is REALLY hard sometimes.

    Thanks for reminding me first drafts suck. It does make me feel better about my writing :)

  3. This is so true. I'm editing my NaNo draft and yeah, it's awful. But it will become awesome!

  4. Oh yeah, first drafts suck all right. And not just voice. My plot's all over the place, what with the details and conversations and events I thought I needed, but don't.

    A lot of people talk about letting a WIP rest before starting revisions. I don't. When I reach the end of the first draft, I always roll right into my second draft to carve out *some* of the suckiness.

    Then I can let it rest for awhile.

  5. Definitely! And I find that as I write, my characters develop. They'll do or say things I hadn't initially intended. By the end of the first draft, the voice will have "matured" into the character and I'm ready to go back to the beginning and adjust the rest of the novel. Just part of the process. :)

  6. Everyone's first draft is a bit wackey.

  7. I definitely empathise with this. My first drafts are absolute drivel, and my real writing comes through in my revisions when I basically reconstruct the entire thing.

  8. "First drafts always suck." WHY can't I face this fact when I'm writing one? I get stuck trying to perfect things I'll cut later anyway. It's maddening.

    You are very right. I hope I can remember this post next time!

  9. For some strange reason, my writing tends to vary between stories. Some stories make me feel like I'm the awesome-est write evar. Other stories make me feel downright imbecilic!


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Item Reviewed: Mr. First Draft's Wild Ride Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Amy Lukavics