This Monday morning I am reminded of the importance of a first draft and of building castles.
As writers, we all wish we could get to the end of our current work-in-progress so that we can go on to the next thing. We love beginnings...beginnings are fun...beginnings are joy and full of bright promise.
I am as guilty as the next of believing I have made my way to a final draft after working on a first draft until I can't stand the story myself anymore. Then, as readers, we realize this isn't how it works.
Maybe there are some writers who can put out a first draft and it is a masterpiece and ready for an editor to swoop in, I believe Dean Koontz just might be one of these talents, but for most of us, we write with our hearts and then when we begin the edits on our beloved first drafts we realize much of it is hogwash and we manage to break our own hearts with the truth of it.
If we only realized from the beginning that we are just filling a box full of lovely, colorful sand for future use, it would save us from ourselves. This is why I find for myself, the importance of writing the first draft as quickly as I can, do a little editing to clean it all up nice and shiny, and then bury it for a few weeks or a month.
Then I unearth the story once again and begin my real work of building something out of what I have shoveled in there.
Sometimes however, we discover that there will be no castle out of the mess, it is and shall ever remain, a pile of lovely sand.
But other times, well...the castle begins to build itself in that first reading, you can see the turrets and towers immediately, the fine structure, the endurance of what is there before you.
And that is the best feeling of all...