No reason to panic. No, the old saw that says first drafts are always shitty…that’s a sure bet.
But then there’s something truly humbling about the stumbling of a first draft. There’s a kind of freedom to stagger this way and that, almost like a drunk exploring the Holy City of the Story. The author doesn’t usually know the structure of the narrative, what goes first, second, and so on. It’s very hard to know so much simultaneous meanings in an aesthetically contoured “shapely” manner.
In fact the experience of first drafting can be a way to relieve your unconscious of the overload of extraordinary implications. All those tortured mazeways gone bad. All those dialogs that fall on dumb ears. Yes, it’s a freak show sometimes but until we travel through the haunted house with all its wavery mirror glass, well, and even then we only get a few glimpses of where all these implications are lining up…if in fact they should “line up.”
So, here’s a toast of your favorite inspirational magic to the great free spirit of the first draft. Here’s where the free ranging chicken may well grow into a plumed serpent of mythic proportions. Here’s the joy of freedom and the nightmare of too many choices. Yes, decisions must be made. But unlike painting, us scribes have the joyous freedom to rewrite and bring to high lustre great insights we never knew were secure in our feeble fingers’ keyboard journeys into inky nights and clarifying days.
To First Drafts…the best is yet to come…