Monday, 4 January 2010

Shadows and roses

I have my final fiction course assignment due on the 29th and for it I've written a horror(ish) short (1500words - is that flash?) piece called Shadows. And to be quite honest, it sucks. The tense is all over the place, there is like 10 lines of telling to every 10 words of showing and my dialogue tags are all mixed up.

However, I gave this piece of mincemeat to a friend and he pointed out all the above problems (and more) and gave me advice on how to fix it (he even went so far as to re-write a section to use as an explanation) so now I know what went wrong, I can make it go write.

I also have an essay piece due on the 29th, the first draft of which was taking me ages until I got Shadows back. It was at that point I decided that it was just a first draft and I didn't care how it looked as long as it was written. Words came faster after that. It's still not done but that more a mark of me being lazy than anything else.

I have come to the conclusion that first drafts are written to suck. It's like when you plant rosebushes, you get the seed (your idea, plot points etc.) and you stick it in manure (your first draft), wait for a bit till it grows (step away from the keyboard for a bit) and then prune to a perfect looking rosebush (editing). You can still end up with issues of greenfly and such (plot holes, horrible sentences) but you can ask other gardeners (betas) for help finding them before you get it ready to enter competitions (submissions).

So I have given myself permission to write garbage and know that editing LATER will fix it, rather than stressing about it while writing the first draft. A first draft which, lets face it, I'll be editing later anyway. Your new years resolution should be the same, let your first draft suck, you can fix it later.

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