Monday, November 28, 2011

First Drafts

There's something thrilling about starting a first draft, isn't there?

You've got a shiny new plot filled with shiny new characters. You start your computer, open a new document and...


That is one empty page.

Many writers will have just finished editing their last project and so the sight of that blank page can be rather unsettling. After all, you're used to seeing pages filled with words - yes, words that you're changing, rearranging or deleting - but dammit, there were words there!

Yep, that is one empty page.

Here's an image that was given to me by a writer far more gifted than myself: think of your first draft as an ice-covered pond. Your beginning is on this side and your ending is way over there. The pond is safe to skate on - just. The faster you get to the other side, the better. Stay in one place for too long and you'll start to hear the ice crack.

And look - that empty page looks just like it's covered with ice.

What do you do to get through that first draft?


  1. Elspeth - No doubt about it; that empty page can look really, really...empty. Vast even. Sometimes those first few words are the hardest to write. For what it's worth, I get through it by writing down notes I've made for my story. Then at least I have something to look at and somewhere to start.

  2. I actually really adore that empty page. If I could do nothing but start new books, I would be a happy camper. I have learned to love the other parts of writing, but starting is still my favorite.

  3. Margot; I agree, notes help. I'm sure you face that first page with ease!

    Hart; Heavens, I envy you! I understand what you're talking about, but I still find it terrifying. But then again, that adds to the excitement, doesn't it?

  4. I hate that empty page. Typically I've thought up the big climax to a story long before I actually sit down to start writing, and it seems like such a long journey, especially since I usually have no idea where to take my first step.

  5. Oh, the empty page. I've got 3 of them now at once and I'm trying to fill them up as fast as I can so they can be WIPs instead of blank pages!

  6. Paul; I think it seems like such a long journey because it IS. Just start. Remember, it's a first draft - not a final one.

    Elizabeth; THREE??? Holy wow.

  7. Love that ice-covered pond image :)
    Thanks for sharing because I'll be on that blank page right after the holidays. I use Anne Lamont's advice: one bird at a time.

  8. I think in scenes, not drafts, so I don't worry too much about finishing the book, only the day's efforts.

    Terry's Place
    Romance with a Twist--of Mystery


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