I’m going back to basics today and will explain three reasons why rough drafts are important.
(I know, some of you may be looking at me strange, but I swear it’s true. Everyone in each profession does this. What do you think a business plan is?)
So let’s get to it, shall we?
#1: Your rough draft is only meant to get your ideas down, not become the next Stephen King.
Please understand that your first draft is not going to be a Pulitzer Prize winner. I remember in college when I was doing papers in APA where I had to do five to six drafts because I had to reorganize my ideas.
Your rough draft is also not going to be very cohesive, unless you’ve been writing a very long time. Even after years of writing, I know friends who STILL need to rewrite at least once or twice before submitting their work to their editors.
Sometimes, you may do quite a few drafts. I know business people who have written business plans over and over until they’ve gotten it right.
The hard work will pay off, so don’t give up yet!
#2: You’ll find inconsistencies that NEED fixing before readers ask you what you were on when writing a part.
This week, I ripped apart chapter four of Turbulence and had to laugh at how bad it was. Our detective was poisoned with deadly stuff that you need pumped from a hospital yet somehow I FORGOT THIS CONCEPT.
Scratch that. I forgot to include that SCENE, so then I jumped to the longest interrogation ever. (OMG, Do not have a seven page interrogation with no action or thoughts of said criminal. It’s boring to read, so I made that better too.)
This is an example of finding plot and character inconsistency. You cannot have someone have poison pump through them and still make them a regular joe. No no no.
Finding inconsistencies should be an important part of drafting and editing, ladies and gentlemen. If you’re not finding most of them before submitting them to your editor, you’re not evolving as a writer.
Some ways you can find these problems are either with beta readers or by reading them yourself. In my case, I have a roommate who will listen to my ideas and I can tell by his looks how something will go. For me, the facial queues and the tones of voice are enough.
(I did love how I horrified my roommates when describing a character, though. Sometimes, there are some victories.)
#3: You’ll be able to see advancements in your writing if you work at it yourself.
Sometimes you want instant gratification and I get that.
If that’s your goal, writing is NOT for you. Just move on now.
However, if you’re wanting to improve, you’ll find your own way to edit and improve. Not every writer is the same. I know some who only write in the mornings (which is impossible for me, I’m barely up before noon), a lot who write at night (like me), some who write with the TV on or music and then some still with silence.
Editing is the same deal. From word processing programs to learning the tools of the trade, you’ll come up with your own method. Sometimes we just need different outlets to learn our lessons.
So, still feel like throwing away that rough draft or do you want to work through it? If so, why do you always throw them away before completing the story or paper?0