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Rantings, thoughts, diatribe. Anything that captures my interest and hangs around long enough to capture on a keyboard.

Friday, 20 April 2018

The First Draft

It’s been a long time since I last wrote on this blog. The reason being that I have been busy writing elsewhere. For the past year, any spare writing time has been devoted to working on my children’s book and I think, I hope, that the first draft is nearly done.

There are different definitions of what a first draft is. For some, it is the initial purge of words and spewing of ideas onto the page to clear your mind and focus. It is after the process of spewage that you actually begin to write the story.

My First Draft

This was my belief until one day, while chatting to another writer, she said her definition of a first draft is when you can do no more. That the story is as good as you can make it and that you need outside help, usually from an editor, to take it to the next stage.

I shuddered.

‘That means your first draft could take years!’

She nodded.


It’s annoying to be reminded that there are no short cuts to writing. Telling yourself that you are on your fourth draft after six months is much more satisfying than being on your first draft after one year. Satisfying because it sounds like you have done more and are further ahead, even if you aren’t.

‘Why would you make it harder for yourself? ‘I wondered after our chat.

However, I couldn’t rid myself of the idea that the first draft should be the best version of the story that you can produce on your own.  And so I have been doing precisely that. Writing a first draft over and over and over again. Say ‘over’ really fast for fifteen minutes and you get some idea of what I’ve been up to.

This year of writing has been a big learning curve for me. I’ve met other aspiring and published writers and therefore I now know what MG, YA and PB* means. I know the functions of an agent, editor and publisher.  I know that apparently, your narrator should always be older than your target market.**  I know what a beta reader*** is and even found some for my not-yet-completed first draft.  And I’ve been reminded that to try and write seriously is fricking hard and completely satisfying. 

*MG - middle grade, YA - young adult, PB - picture book.

** So if your story is aimed for  7-9 years old, your narrator ideally should be older than that. Personally, I think this is bollocks.

*** The first readers of your complete draft.

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