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First drafts are fun. Don't look at me like that, they are. Just putting your words down on paper, letting the story escape from your brain and actually exist on paper? That's brilliant. Now, if you get hit by a car or fall into a coma or something, the words are still there. The story didn't die with you.

Of course, that's just as long as you know what's going to happen. The second you reach a scene that you just can't figure out, everything goes downhill. When you hit that glass wall in your brain where suddenly nothing wants to make sense anymore, or that technical detail you've been putting off dealing with because you'll figure it out when you get to it (oh wow you got to it time to figure it out), it gets a lot less fun. 

And that's the hard part about first drafts. There's nothing more terrifying than a blank page when you have no idea what to put on it. I imagine that this is particularly difficult for writers who have already been published and have contracts and deadlines, and now have to think up something so they don't get in trouble. I have the luxury of just switching to a story where I do know what's going to happen next.

But then, of course, the first story just stagnates on paper, waiting for that fleeting spark of inspiration to strike the author, who ought to just sit down and muscle through it like a big kid because the poor story is waiting.

Eventually, a metaphorical kick in the pants usually comes along and the writer will finish the first draft. Sometimes this has to happen several times before the story can actually be finished. Some authors skip around and then write the other scenes later. I can't do that--I find if I don't make myself write in order, those scenes will never get written.

And then we come to the second draft. In some ways, draft two is easier: everything is already written out. There's no blank page demanding things you can't provide. In others ways, it's harder. Now you have to make it good

I'm pretty lucky in this aspect. My first drafts aren't masterpieces by any stretch of the word, but they're generally pretty solid-- good enough that I'm comfortable posting rough drafts of fanfics, and can sometimes even get an A on a first draft essay. Unless my first draft is years old, I can generally read it over without wanting to gouge my eyes out. But other people don't have that.

It can be painful to reread. It has been painful. It will continue to be painful. You'll probably want to burn the first draft and start over, but you won't because it took so much work. So you'll cut out things left and right and add some of them back, but then cut them again. You'll agonize over the structure of a sentence and realize that you use the word 'fantastic' fifty times in the same chapter.

You will go over everything and make it better.

But the really painful part comes with the third draft. Once you've written the second draft, you're probably satisfied enough with your story that you're willing to let other people see it, and then you let them read it. Some of them will love it unconditionally. If they're getting any level of nookie from you, it's probably not safe to trust their opinion entirely. If they're your mother, or they're ten years old, same thing.

So you'll find a really close friend who likes to read or write and understands that not every word that comes out of your fingers is golden, and you'll ask them to read it. They will, and then they'll tell you things they liked. You'll listen.

But then they'll tell you things they don't like. And you'll want to die of embarrassment. You'll resent this friend and not speak to them for several weeks because that's your favorite scene they just told you you needed to rework, and they've just insulted you so badly they're dead to you. You'll go back to your comfort people and pout while they tell you you did a great job.

But you won't be able to get their advice out of your head. And you'll reread the scene five times and realize that maybe they were right. You'll start playing around with the scene in your head and trying to figure out what's wrong with it.

Eventually you'll suck it up and call your friend and ask what they'd recommend you do to make that scene better. They'll tell you. You'll still be mad, but you'll suck it up and start working on it.

And then, if you're lucky, you'll have something worth taking a look at.
Entirely subjective, and the second person may not apply to the reader.

Anything to add?
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Daily Deviation

Given 2014-01-21
Some handy thoughts on drafting, presented in an appealing narrative style: A Tutori-scussion Drafts by ~curlscat ( Featured by neurotype )
:iconcronasonlyfriend:
cronasonlyfriend Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Pretty darn solid advice.
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:iconcurlscat:
curlscat Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2014  Student Writer
Thanks!
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:iconcronasonlyfriend:
cronasonlyfriend Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Np :)
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:iconbrotherantroz:
BrotherAntroz Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2014
I've been lucky enough to feel comfortable enough with my FIRST drafts to 'publish' them. Until recently that is, when I finished the first paragraph or so, turned my laptop off for the night and suddenly thought to myself 'wow this is garbage.' It scared me enough to make me unable to write for almost a month.
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:iconcurlscat:
curlscat Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2014  Student Writer
Wow. That's intense.
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:icondragon-paragon:
Dragon-Paragon Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2014
You forgot the alcoholism.
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:iconcurlscat:
curlscat Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2014  Student Writer
Well since I'm not an alcoholic let's assume that's not a universal thing. :)
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:icondragon-paragon:
Dragon-Paragon Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2014
That's a shame, too, few qualities have been as pronounced in modern writers. Good manifest.
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:iconcurlscat:
curlscat Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2014  Student Writer
Having been on the outside of alcoholism, I'm going to suggest that it's actually a good thing that not all writers are alcoholics because it pulls families apart.
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:icondragon-paragon:
Dragon-Paragon Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2014
Suggestion taken with a grain of salt, I'm gonna go ahead and assume I was unsuccessful in implanting my communiques with a satirical note. To add to your statement, alcoholism also ruins your teeth, kills your brain cells, and leads to very self-destructive behavior.
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:iconcurlscat:
curlscat Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2014  Student Writer
Yeah I was kind of hoping it was sarcasm but it's kind of a personal issue for me so I don't like to joke about it.
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:icondragon-paragon:
Dragon-Paragon Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2014
Sorry to hear so, but it was more a social commentary on how authors tend to, uh, shall we say, accrue bad habits.

...Yeah, I sorta feel like we got off on the wrong foot. So, um. Congrats on the DD, I really enjoy your prose, aaaand I suppose I'll see you around if you get another?
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:iconcurlscat:
curlscat Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2014  Student Writer
I honestly think a lot of that is just a social construct, because all the writer people I know are normal, but hey.

Thanks. :) I doubt I'll get another, but on the off chance I do, I hope you like that one too!
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:iconalphabetsoup314:
alphabetsoup314 Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Holy crap you actually have time to write drafts for your essays? With me it's usually "Oh crap I forgot I had an essay due among these bajillion other labs due, QUICK WRITE SOMETHING VAGUELY INTELLIGENT SOUNDING! CLICK THE SUBMIT BUTTON!! CLICK IT FASTER!!!!!" :XD:

With me, I don't usually have multiple copies of things I'm writing. Mostly because my handwriting gets messy, so I use the computer, which then eliminates the need to save multiple copies. The only time when I do have multiple drafts is when I send an earlier draft to someone before the final submission(ie: group members or supervisors), or when I post an earlier version online for critique and actually decide to go back later. That being said, I do understand the need to edit stuff; sometimes I don't care enough to edit it for whatever reason, but most of the time I'll find myself going back. I tend to be my own worst critic partly because I don't always have the luxury of having someone to go to, and partly because I've gotten decent at doing critiques myself (which in turn is partly due to the former). I actually wish I had a prereader, because I can't catch everything and because I'm not good at everything.
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:iconcurlscat:
curlscat Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2014  Student Writer
My professors make me write drafts. I'm a lit major and they require I turn in more than one draft for my essays.
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:iconalphabetsoup314:
alphabetsoup314 Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Me, on the other hand, I'm an engineering major. Aside from project courses that are heavy on reporting, writing drafts isn't exactly something that's drilled into us (or generally required). Probably a bad habit to get into heh. 
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:iconformel:
Formel Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
If you ever happen to lose a work in progress a day before submission deadline you will appreciate the idea of multiple saves. :D
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:iconcameronkobe:
CameronKobe Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Very true.  Especially the part about resenting your friend and pouting while your comfort people apply salve to the battered ego, before eventually ruminating to the point where you actually take your friend's good advice :D
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:iconcurlscat:
curlscat Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2014  Student Writer
Workshops drilled this into my head. A lot. We were hard on each other.
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:icondenisecroy:
DeniseCroy Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Nothing to add. A true writer's routine. 

Congratulations for the great job and for making us relate to this ! 
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:iconcurlscat:
curlscat Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2014  Student Writer
Thanks very much!
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:icondenisecroy:
DeniseCroy Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
You're welcome ! :D 
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:iconrobson666:
robson666 Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2014  Hobbyist
congratulations to the well deserved Daily Deviation Clap Clap
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:iconcurlscat:
curlscat Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2014  Student Writer
Well thank you very much!
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:iconlintu47:
lintu47 Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Congrats on the DD! :dalove:
Have a nice day! :party:
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:iconmtn-man:
Mtn-Man Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist

Huh, this was actually real helpful. I'm not much of a writer(not one at all), but I do like drawing comics. So what happened is ill tend to "visualize" a story in my head but ever commit it to writing on paper. I bumble around with rough sketches and character sheets. Then dive head first into comic making mode without haveing an end game in my head. I'll get a few pages in, then lose track and eventually motivation. Trying to keep my motivation is hard when I don't even remember where I'm going with a story.

 

So as of late I've been trying to just get it in my head that if I wish to do comics with any real deal of propheticality I must accept the fact that I must become a better writer. So I did find this most helpful in that sense for just trying to stat out. Thank you and congrats on the DD!

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:iconcurlscat:
curlscat Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2014  Student Writer
I'm glad I could help you out!
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:iconmtn-man:
Mtn-Man Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks :lol:
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:iconestrangeloedessa:
EstrangeloEdessa Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Ah yes. Very much so. Or at least, I would imagine... because I've never gotten to the third draft. 

I tend to post a LOT of first-draft things, but it's okay, because usually they're either poems, which I write very spontaneously and don't like rewriting because they lose that spontaneity, or short stories, which are generally small enough that I feel like I can keep a watchful eye over the whole thing even as I work, so I tend to end up accumulating a ton of small edits as I go and the beginning of the story is on a third draft while I'm still finishing up the first draft of the end. (If that even made sense.) Or they're fanfiction, in which case who cares. 

Honestly, the only original stuff I've gotten to a second draft in is The Normals and Changeling (kinda). And with them, I completely agree with everything you're saying here. Normals is WAY more improved than its original version (a ScriptFrenzy screenplay) and I'm totally fine with posting it online and having people read it. But there are still things about it that bug me, because there are just so many DETAILS from this whole world I've built up around the story that I just haven't had time to put in the story. Things like the other Normal characters not having big enough roles, or background details about the history of the city and Pet and other characters and so much other stuff. So yeah, the current draft is readable, but there are still things that will have to be changed... in the third draft. 

Anyway. Yeah. You're right. 
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:iconcurlscat:
curlscat Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2013  Student Writer
You write poems different than I do. I have to edit most of my poems to get rid of the stupid. And fanfiction yeah as long as it's written in proper English and they act vaguely like themselves nobody gives a crap.

You could do what I'm doing with Nameless and just start putting up oneshots about your characters.
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:iconestrangeloedessa:
EstrangeloEdessa Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
I do edit poems that have a structure to them, like rhyming or something, because often I can think of a more natural way to fit that structure later on. But they're mostly just small edits. 

I did that once -- with the kinda-rant on realism in superhero movies disguised as a Normals oneshot. But I've been wanting to do other "deleted scenes" too, so perhaps I shall push myself to do more. 
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:iconcurlscat:
curlscat Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2013  Student Writer
Well, if you like them the way they are, there's no need to edit.

I read that one. I find the related oneshots really fun to write.
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