That first draft (Short story)

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It’s so shitty you want to cry. Yes, there are nuggets of worth here and there. A clever sequence of words that makes you especially proud. A line of dialogue that makes you smile, even now, weeks after writing it. Oh and that joke! It’s almost unbelievable that that came out of your mind!

But these pearls are surrounded by a world of utter desolation. The book you were so excited to write, the book you needed to write, is nothing like the book you envisioned in your mind. When you came up with this idea, you knew the first draft wouldn’t be perfect but you never imagined this level of absolute shittiness.

Nothing makes sense. There are so many plot holes you could easily bury your exhausted corpse in one of them. The characters have no stable characterization, their personalities evolve every few pages. The dialogue is choppy and as you whisper it to yourself you realize that no self respecting human would ever say anything even resembling it. And the writing? It’s the most awkward thing. Sentences that you thought flowed well are more of a tumultuous ocean than a smooth river.

Hope is a foreign creature to you. Pride in your work is nonexistent. Or it fled a long time ago. Your back hurts, your head hurts, your soul hurts. You are the only witness to your mistakes and there is no one else to wrap your soul in cotton and tell you that It’s so good. You are so embarrassed of the puppy-like creature that used to stay up till 2 am, so eager to get the words out on the screen. Words that now fill you with horror. You can see the caffeine and sleep deprivation in them clearly by the light of day.

The pain is real and there is only one thing worse than that first draft. The fact that you now have to fix it.

This is kind of in the vein of my last story on the fears of a teen writer. This one too comes from personal experience, because I write a lot and writing a lot means that I’ve produced a lot of first drafts. And they’re all horrible and I hate them. But for some reason, I persevere with the insanity that is writing because I love it. And I hope you do too. XX

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