First Drafts

First drafts are never fun.

Not to put a blanket statement over it or anything, there are fun moments, but generally, first drafts are akin to pulling your own teeth. You don’t yet know what your characters sound like, the exact actions they’ll take, or even their defining motivations.

It’s like they’re on the other side of the wall and you’re trying to draw their picture. You can’t see them, you can barely hear them, so hopefully you do your best, but already you know it’s not even going to be close to accurate.

And that’s okay. You can only do so much figuring out on a whiteboard. Until you type it out, it’s not real. You can have every beat of every little moment planned to the T, but once you sit down at that typer none of it will help. Because you haven’t learned them yet, and the only way they’ll speak to you is if you work with them.

They’re going to be difficult at first. You might not trust them. Well, they don’t trust you either. Can you blame them? After all, you’re bringing them to life and you don’t even know what to do with them!

But you start to learn each other, and you to start to figure out their tics.

The further you go, the more of a grasp you begin to feel – on the voice, the motivations, it all becomes just a little bit easier.

Once you’re done, you don’t have a script. You have a map.

Because now that you know you’re characters – their voices – and you go back and begin to read your first draft, you now know what’s wrong with what you’ve written. You may not have the exact answer yet, but you’ve got something much closer to what it should be.

Every draft is like that. It all becomes shaping and molding the giant piece of authored clay you forced out of yourself.

Really, it’s never-ending. Every draft is the first draft in a sense. But that first one is the hardest, and the worst. Like a difficult shit: It feels good getting it out, but boy does it stink.

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