Mood: Dazed

Currently listening to: It’s Not True by William Fitzsimmons

When I typed THE END on my 1st draft, I saved it in triplicate & put it away. My plan was to start on draft #2 without reading draft #1. I wanted to go into this next draft without the baggage of the 1st. Yes, I would be using the plot line I’d established & the scenes that got me from page 1 to page 227. At least for the most part. The 1st draft was about figuring out where the characters & the story wanted to go. My goal for my 2nd draft was to focus more on the details–setting, dialog, descriptions, character–now that I had a better idea of how to get from here to there.

Well, I went to my writing group yesterday & I was talking to Dot, who is well past her 1st draft & working on finessing a final version of her WIP. She believes in reading what you’ve written & working from that to improve your 2nd draft. Makes sense right. In all my other writing, I do a 1st draft & then use that material to work on the 2nd, 3rd, etc. So, why wasn’t I doing it for this? As she pointed out, while I might think it’s crap, there might just be some good lines or even paragraphs, a thread to be unwound further or better developed in draft #2, etc. There might be something in there that I do want to carry over into draft #2, & I shouldn’t totally discount what I’ve just written. She’s right.

So, I spent the rest of writing group reading draft #1, starting at chapter 1, page 1. I only got up through chapter 2–it turned out to be one of those chat filled writing group days. But, there in chapter 2, I realized my ending–the last line that I typed…the one I’d feared I’d rushed & questioned–actually tied together perfectly with one of main themes in my story. When I wrote the ending, I did so without consciously making the connection. But there, in chapter 2, it was there, & I must admit, I was a little stunned. It was weird to realize that somewhere in my cluttered mind connections were being made & written for me.

I never would have realized how much the current ending made sense if I hadn’t started reading this draft. Who knows what else is in there. I don’t. So, I have to read it to find out. And while there will undoubtably be more painful, cringeful moments than not, I need to know what’s there. Because maybe then I’ll realize I’m not so full of crap & maybe there will be something worth doing something with once I have a final draft.