The worst first draft EVER….

I’ve been AWOL for a few days, dealing with employment issues (still got none), personal issues (you don’t want to know), health issues (nothing serious, but yucky) and general morale issues (running on fumes). You don’t know how important it is to be gainfully employed until you’re sitting at home watching the same YouTube video for the fifteenth time.

You would think that I would get at least a little lift out of the fact that I have cleared 90,000 words on Princess of Fire. The problem is that I am increasingly convinced that this draft is quite possibly the worst first draft ever. In the history of Western literature. Maybe in the history of world literature, right back to Gilgamesh. It’s even worse than the first draft of Princess of Shadows, and that was a nightmare. So far I’m hanging on to my resolution to keep pushing ahead, but I’m fighting the urge to call this thing good-enough and start Fire 2.0. In truth, though, I really want to write at least another twenty thousand words to cover major gaps in the narrative. I would much prefer to have those gaps filled in before I start thinking about remedial action.

The silver lining on this cloud, the one happy thought, is that I now have a very good idea how this story needs to be structured. Kathy is faced with two simultaneous series of events that keeps her bouncing from crisis to crisis, while she battles intransigence close at hand and her own doubts. I now have a very good idea who the characters are, good, stupid and indifferent. I am also getting a fair idea what’s surplus. And it has been the act of writing that has revealed all this. Once I do start Fire 2.0, there will be a tremendous amount of work to do restructuring and re-writing, but I’ll be on much firmer ground than when I started this whole project. All of my original timelines for this project are probably junk at this point, but I’m used to that.

Now if I could just make money at this…. 🙂

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7 thoughts on “The worst first draft EVER….”

  1. “Worst draft ever”? I seriously doubt that. There’s a book on my kindle right now that I reckon deserves that title – as in, I suspect the author wrote it in one draft and then immediately self-pubbed. It was…really, really bad…

    My own first draft has proved to be pretty terrible. In particular, the pacing has come out WAY too slow and so there’s a lot I’m simply having to cut out. One of my biggest scenes originally took nearly 20k words to get to; for the second draft, I’m aiming to reach it in 5k or so.

    What do you think is wrong with your draft, if you don’t mind me asking?

    1. Among other things, the accelerating drumbeat of disaster with which my protagonist has to contend is, at the moment, more like the scattered rim-shots of a chimpanzee banging away at a set of drums– the correct order and pace is completely missing. Probably more importantly, I have serious problems with the protagonist’s motivation and character arc– what should happen is that she doesn’t want to act, she’s forced to act, she fumbles at first, and then finds her footing. That’s not there at the moment.

      Thanks for reading. Best of luck with your WIP.

  2. If it’s helped you figure out some important elements of the characters and your story, then it’s definitely not the worst first draft ever. Keep pushing ahead with it!

  3. I’m 80k in on this first draft and if I stop long enough to wrap my head around the disaster I have unleashed, I would crumble and blow away in the wind like so much cigarette ash. Keep going. Trust the writing. The first draft is meant to be shite. Gambate, Doug!!

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