Okie dokie, folks. It’s time for the second installment in the David McAfee Rules of Writing. Because, you know, so many people out there are hanging on every character I type. They want this info. Need it, even. Their lives will not be complete until I… oh, who am I kidding? I just like the sound of my own voice, even if it’s typed.
So today I want to talk about first drafts. Most of them are horrible. Awful, ugly things. That’s OK. Really. That’s the way a first draft is supposed to look. This is the stage where the writer is, or should be, having the most fun. There may be parts of the story that we get stuck on, but for the most part this IS the creative process. Right here. Getting words onto paper or onto the screen. And the words never come faster or with more intensity than they do at this point. At least that’s been my experience so far.
But too many writers worry about making everything perfect on this all important first draft, and that can suck the creative life right out of a story. Adverbs? Passive voice? Clunky phrasing? Plot holes? You betcha! In fact, this is where those things belong and – dare I say it? – actually serve a purpose. They help to grease the wheels between your mind and the keyboard, so don’t worry if they pop up through the story. It’s OK. You can worry about purging that kinda stuff in revision.
Pssssst: that’s what the revision process is for. Just sayin’.
I never worry about good grammar or adverbs or any of that stuff in my first draft. If I did, I’d never finish a story because I’d be constantly going back and changing things. I prefer to let the words flow while the well is full, if you know what I mean. To me, that’s the best way to write, and the most honest.
Of course, your mileage may vary.