Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Dirty Drafts

I notice that some writers call their first drafts 'dirty' drafts and I'm starting to understand why. I'm so close to the end of this first draft, with just the HEA left to write, that I should be dancing around with joy. I have a novel!

Or do I?

The bare bones are there, but the manuscript has gaping holes, weak spots and whole scenes where I'm not entirely sure what the scene's point is. I'm pretty sure the motivations are there, but sometimes they waver, a bit like a mirage.

I also have, as one of my CPs frequently points out, a tendency to write lots of short and rather unsatisfying love scenes. I need to consciously go back and add quality rather than quantity.

Then there's the fact that my heroine is a bit of a ballbreaker and needs to be made more sympathetic, and my hero is sometimes a little unloveable or doesn't behave like the true Alpha he is.

Dirty draft indeed. I can see its potential, but between real life, kids coughing all night, Nanowrimo and the Twilight saga, I'm so sleep deprived right now that I don't have the energy to even think about what I need to do to fix this.

So what fond name do you give your first draft?


  1. Loved your post Romy.
    I tend to think of the 1st draft as frogspawn. There's life there but it's scary, messy, hard to handle and rather hard see the beauty within. Good luck cracking on. judy x

  2. Join the club, Romy. Sometimes though I find that what I thought was complete rubbish, is actually better than I first thought. Which is happy! But anyway, that's why we edit eh? My HEA was like a paragraph in my first draft 'cause I hate writing endings but I'm certainly going to have to go back and add to it. But as you say, you've got the bones already there.

  3. Have you seen Mean Girls? Well, there's a phrase the main character uses often and it is "word vomit". I tend to think of my first drafts as "mind vomits" where everything in there just pours onto the page. Where I start never seems to be where I end up and there are so many edits to delete, revise, and redirect the MS towards the new HEA that it's never the same as I started. The downfall of being a "pantser". :) Don't worry though, after you go back through and make those necessary changes, I'm sure you'll love your latest draft. Good luck!

  4. Dirty drafts. I like it. Good luck with editing :D

  5. I decided to write a thriller for nano, and am now painfully aware that I have a cast of dozens. Every time I hit a weak point, new character. God knows what its going to be like when its finished. The draft is positively filthy, but not in a good way (sigh). The plot and idea is good, but the execution...maybe I should draft plots and give them to good writers? any money in that?
    Ah well, not long to go now, only 9,000 words.

  6. Romy - check out my new blog post for what not to have your hero doing...

  7. LOL, Julie beat me too it, that's my first draft too (but crappier crap than hers, for sure).

  8. Interesting post, Romy. I haven't found a name for my first drafts cos I'm one of those writers who can't turn off my internal editor when writing. I tend to get the chapter as close to what I want as possible before moving on. If a latter part of the story warrants edits in the previous chapters, I go back and make those changes before continuing.

    While not perfect my first drafts tend to be pretty clean, which isn't to say they don't need several revisions.