Hello my wordsmiths. Today I want to talk to you about your first draft. I’m going to let you in on a little tip. Your first draft is not going to be your last draft. There are three things you should want to achieve with your first draft and then edit and refine until you have your completed product.
The first thing you want to accomplish with your first draft is to write the original story you had in mind. Write the story you intended to write. In later revisions you may decide that you need an added conflict but for the first draft, you should already know the story you want to tell. Even if your first draft evolves as you are writing and the story changes. That is all part of the plan, write the story you want to write. Try and nail down the genre and the tone. If you want to write a Western write a western. If you want it to be a western with a comedic overtone, write that. If you wanted to write a love story set against an intergalactic war, write that story. You should establish these facts in your first draft by writing the story you want to write.
Secondly, you want to learn your main conflict. If you are writing your first draft and you don’t know what your conflict is then this is the time to nail it down. You may revise and change it but you should determine at least in broad terms what that conflict is. A widow fighting to keep her dead husband’s gold claim from the evil bankers. A group of friends trapped in the middle of nowhere and having to survive nature. These are broad terms but in your first draft it’s okay to work with broad terms and bring them into realization and clarity in later drafts.
Finally, you want to get every idea you have on paper for that first draft. Diarhea of the keyboard is horrible in a finished story, but in your first draft you should throw everything you want into it. Your main character wrestles a bear and jumps a perilous ravine on a motorcycle, that’s fine. It is always better to get it on paper to start with and take it out, then to want to add it later and have to disrupt the flow of your edited story. So if you want something in the story your first draft is where it should go.
So for your first draft you want to write the story you want to write, learn your main conflict, and put every idea you want to into the first draft. We edit because noones first draft is ever perfect but if you put all your ideas and thoughts into that first draft you have a good foundation to build a more refined story.