The First Draft Blues

I’m well on the way to completing my first draft of my first novel. You would think, I would be dancing for joy, but you would be wrong. You see, I’ve got a severe case of what I’m calling The First Draft Blues.  Me and my First Draft, have been through a lot.  It started off with a tiny idea popping into my head in the middle of the night, which I developed into a (hopefully) decent story with characters and plots and subplots, oh my. 

After only a few weeks, I plunged us into the craziness that is NaNoWriMo, where we grew  from zero words to an impressive fifty thousand plus words in just thirty days.  We got to know each other through late night writing sessions and early morning catch ups.  The intensity of NaNo, meant that sticking to any form of writing schedule, come december 1st, was almost impossible.  To be honest, I was sick of the sight of my draft.  I wanted a break.  Following Good Writer Advice, though, we stuck together and managed to bang out another thirty thousand words before the New Year. 

With my wordcount, now towering above eighty thousand words, and with the finishing line in sight, I’m having another meltdown. Just like any other realtionship, things with my First Draft are starting to bug me.  Those first heady days of blind love are gone, and now I’m annoyed by the gaping plot holes, the sections of stilted dialogue and the damp towels left in a heap on the bed. 

And, that’s not all.  You see, my head has been turned by another idea.  This idea is bright and shiny and new.  There are new characters to get to know and new ideas to fit together.  It’s exciting and I want to leave my First Draft and elope with this New Idea.  But, I won’t.  I’ve simply made detailed notes and stuck it in a drawer.  Once my First Draft is completed, and only then, will I allow myself to spend any more time with the New Idea.  I’m no floozy.

A quick search of the Internet, shows that I’m not alone in this feeling, and there is some pretty good advice out there for people just like me.  Two of my personal favourite articles being:

Should We Finish Writing a Bad Book (if it’s our first novel) by Elizabeth Spann Craig over at Mystery Writing is Murder:  I love this blog anyway, but this post in particular seemed perfectly timed and tailored for me.  It’s well worth a read.

The Tyranny of the First Draft by Karen Miller:  This rang true with me, since a quick read through of my First Draft, proved that, to put it bluntly, it is at least 90% rubbish.  But, like Karen says, you have to write the first draft to have any hope of turning it into something readable.

This is why, I’m sticking it out and working through this rough patch.  Wish me luck!

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2 thoughts on “The First Draft Blues

  1. Oooh I know how tempting it can be to switch horses mid-race but always stick to the first one. If you don’t, you’ll never finish it…and then you’ll be tempted to switch to a new idea when the next one palls…

  2. Yeah, it’s so tricky, though. At the minute, I’m forcing myself not to kill all my characters in one big freak accident!
    I’m just focusing on how good it will feel to be able to say ‘Ooh, look I’ve finished a first draft of a novel.’ Even if it is a pile of rubbish!

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