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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Peaslee

There Is No Such Thing As A Good First Draft (Or, How I Learned To Love Revision)

This won't be a particularly organized post. It might not even be insightful. But I think it needs to be said:


THERE IS NO SUCH THING

AS A GOOD FIRST DRAFT


In other words: revise, revise, revise. Learn to love revision. It shouldn't be hard to do, because revisions are nearly always better than the first draft; yet, we have phrases like "kill your darlings" to help us remember.


For those who aren't familiar with the phrase, "kill your darlings" essentially means cutting out those plot elements, characters, or whatever else that aren't working for your story. (It does not, as I thought when I first heard the phrase, mean "pull a Whedon and kill off all your fan favorites." Is there a phrase for that?)


This is painful and difficult because of course you are attached to your story. I am attached to all of mine. But when I write, my goal is to write something that's good. That means: revising; polishing; editing; deleting some aspects while adding others.


Perhaps it's unfair to generalize. Only the Sith deal in et cetera. But unless you're an established author who has managed to so hone the craft of writing that you are able to vomit up perfect drafts—which feels unlikely—accept that your first draft is going to need to undergo some serious changes. All of ours do.


This is a lesson I wish I had learned years ago; I spent too long doing too little with my stories. Once I began doing some serious editing, people noticed.


So play around with your draft. Write a scene in a different POV and see if that works better. Prune your plot. Don't be afraid to try something new, because it's the new things you bring to the table that will help your story come alive.



Get to it!


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