There are writers of all levels. In order to understand what I’m talking about, think about how long you’ve been working at it, how persistent you’ve been at it and how much effort you’ve really sunk into writing your fiction and submitting it. Got a general idea of where on the ladder you are? Good. Now keep that in mind as I illustrate my next point.
I consider myself a semi-pro. I’m not a beginner nor am I an intermediate. I’ve been published but not on the level where my goal sits. But no matter what level I am, what level you are, or what level anyone is, there is no such thing as a perfect rough draft (as my test readers can certainly confirm after reading my rough drafts!). If more people out there would understand that the true purpose of a rough draft is there to “test the waters” and to simply pound out the story without trying to make it perfect on the first go, then more people who aspire to finish a novel would do so.
Case in point, I’m going to share with you some samples from three different stories of how much my rough drafts really were “rough drafts”. I’ve laughed at many of these. I hope you get a kick out of them, too.
After Bill left for his work in the morning, she’d do her workout and then shower. Then she’d sit at the computer to do her work as a collections agent. Around noon, she’d stop, fix herself some lunch, watch the news and then she’d sit down to work again until 4.
Other then the obvious flaws in sentence structure, my editor cheerfully pointed out that I had the word “work” in one form or another in three consecutive sentences. Oops!
I started to tell her so but finally saw a police cruiser pull into the lot, driving slowly around the parking lot just enjoying the nice bright spring day.
Other than the -ing problem that I frequently have (that I suspect was the inspiration of a blog post about -ing problems the editor of this story put out), I doubt that a police cruiser would drive itself around the lot and enjoy the bright day on its own without a driver. Okay, unless it’s a Stephen King story, that is.
The sun shined down on us but it was not too warm, especially since I realized that by using a sack tie to secure my hair thus allowing air to hit the back of my neck, the heat didn’t seem so bad.
I have no freakin’ clue what the hell I was thinking about when I wrote that sentence. It’s just wrong. Terribly, terribly wrong.
Now that you’ve seen some of my worst, I want you to think about your worst. If you can’t let mistakes like this ride until you’ve finished a rough draft, then you need to really think about what you want to accomplish. Sure, these might be bad standing alone (scratch that, let’s not kid anyone; they ARE bad) but in the rough draft, it is the story that’s being developed and picked over first. Try to ignore the errors until you’ve completed a first writing of it. If it helps, turn off the spell and grammar checks on your word processor so you don’t have to see those annoying squiggly lines. Just think about the story, play it out in your head, and write it down how you see it and worry about the rest later.
Sounds easy, right?
Source: Personal experience