I have been thinking about my first draft a lot recently. When I am not trying to start it, I am thinking about it – how I want the story to go, the characters and their backgrounds, the odd piece of description or dialogue that I think could work (most of the time I manage to write things down before they disappear out of my head forever. I have had things disappear and then I curse myself for not keeping a notebook nearby but that’s for another post.)
There are a few ways in which I have attempted to begin my story as I try to figure out where to begin. Should I start it with dialogue? Inner monologue? That’s the problem – you over think and then the false starts pile up and before you know it, you have 1,000 words of roughly the same scene. I end up going back to the beginning as I convince myself that what I am reading isn’t good enough. I worry that it’s nothing like the books I like to read – that the text is nothing like the stuff that gets published. However, that’s not a bad thing no matter how much I convince myself otherwise (which I try to do… a lot.)
I have heard that this lack of self-confidence and an attack of self-doubt is common.
If you are in the middle of a first draft or thinking about beginning one, you are a little too close to be the best judge. This idea is yours and you are going to be protective of it and want to do your best. Instead of worrying about the way it’s going, you should just write. Words I tell myself when I pick up my pen or poise my fingers over the keyboard. Words I can’t always seem to take notice of but they are true all the same.
The first draft is a precious thing but something that can be rough all at the same time. It just needs a chance to be written. It needs to exist in the first place so you can make it better. You can’t edit something that isn’t there. Now, I am off to disable my delete key. It’s not our friend. Not at this stage anyway.
Novel Kicks is a blog for story tellers and book lovers.