Why First Drafts Are Important

Many people write stories, but most are content to put the first draft online. This can be on sites for fan fiction, fiction sites, or a personal website the author has. While many will critique the quality of your work, others might say it is the best thing since sliced bread.

You might be tempted to take it down or stop working on your project.

But you shouldn’t. First drafts are crucial to any good story. Here are some reasons why.

#1: It gives you time to flesh out ideas about your story.

Take a deep breath and read this a second.

How are you going to know what your characters are like if you don’t draft it out? Something may sound good in your head, but may seem ridiculous once put to paper or word processor. This could be a number of things, such as names, characters, settings or appearances.

Don’t be afraid to jot down ideas. You won’t know unless you write it down.

#2: First drafts are meant to be written over and dissected.

I cannot recall the number of times I’ve scrapped chapters or entire parts because they were no longer needed. Sometimes the characters have changed and the part isn’t important.

Maybe you just don’t like how it’s written and doesn’t convey your point. That’s okay to get rid of it.

Other times, you just might want to take that cutesy moment out because it doesn’t move your story. I’ve taken out chapters because one character was added to give the story dynamic.  When I added that character, 4 chapters were no longer relevant. This cut my draft down 20,000 words.

#3: First drafts are the skeleton to your story, so it’s not meant to be perfect.

New writers want to be perfect their first time around, but that’s not the way writing works. First drafts and beyond will have spelling and grammar errors, no matter how perfect you try.

First drafts are meant to be a skeleton, to get the creative juices flowing. So if you need to build upon it, do so. That’s what the draft is meant for.

#4: Keeping that draft can let you see how far you’ve evolved.

This reason is most important.

Each draft should show how you’ve evolved in development. From your sentence structure to your world building, you want to make sure you improve with each piece. If you look over a draft and you’re NOT editing and making changes, you’re not doing something right. Writing takes practice, no matter how long you’ve been doing it.

Have you ever cringed at a draft? Threw it out or tossed aside? If so, how did you make your writing better?


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