Last week I talked briefly about my favorite part of the writing process…the 1st draft…and today I’d like to take it a step further. You see a 1st draft means different things to different writers. There are those who prefer to edit as they go. Part of their process includes reviewing the previous scene or chapters and revising/editing it before continuing into new territory. Others prefer the blow and go technique, remaining oblivious to things such as grammar, sentence structure, and other such things. Those writers strive to just get the basic plot down and save the heavy lifting for the revision/edit stage. There all sorts of ways to tackle a first draft…and like anything with writing…there is no right or wrong way.
I find that a great way to explain how I approach a 1st draft is to compare it to the production of a Broadway play. You start with an awesome script, which for me is equivalent to an outline, then once all the parts have been cast you move right into the Walk Through. During a Walk Through all the actors read through their lines and mimic the actions they would be performing during the live play. There are no costumes, no sets, no special effects, just the actors and them learning how the dialogue will flow and the beats necessary to making it work. The Walk Through is my first draft. The dress rehearsal, where it is basically the live play but without an audience, is where last minute tweaks are made. That is my edit/revise stage. Opening night is when the book goes on sale…and I’m still waiting for that moment.
I’m in that Walk Through stage right now and it’s hard to let others read it, because there is so much more that will be layered on later that will make the experience more meaningful. But it’s still necessary because it’s easy to mess up the tone and pace, even that early.
So tell me, what is your 1st draft process like?