Oh, first draft. You teasing vixen.
I go over the story ideas in my head, everything coalesces and plays out like a well-oiled machine.
But try to transfer them onto the page, and it all discombobulates into a tangled mess on par with the cord on a pair of earbuds carelessly tossed into a gym bag.
Experienced writers know what I mean.
Although it took a while, I finally reached the end of Act Two in the revamping of the outline of the pulpy adventure spec. On one hand, I’m thrilled to have gotten here. On the other, I want to shrug my shoulders and mutter “eh, good enough” about the scenes and sequences that led up to this point.
They’re definitely far from perfect, and without a doubt will be totally different as future drafts come into play.
Let’s pause to consider the phrase “future drafts.” As in “there will be more”, emphasis on “will”. Not “might”. “Will”.
I recently connected with another writer on a networking site, and they ended our introductory correspondence by letting me know they had first drafts of their scripts available to read.
I sincerely hope not.
Unless you’re looking for feedback, don’t show your first draft to anyone. Ever.
The first draft is the attempt to put all your ideas into some kind of order. Know going in that it won’t be pretty, and will most likely be a big mess requiring a ton of fixes. Not a bunch of little edits, but huge, drastic steps. The end result should look totally different from what you started with.
Don’t regard rewriting as a chore or a slog. It’s something you have to do on a regular basis. It makes the script better and helps you become a better writer.
Consider the last script you wrote. How many drafts did it require to get to the point where you finally said it was done? And wasn’t each successive draft a little better, until the final draft turned out significantly improved compared to the very first one?
That’s what you should be going for. Every single time.