Agent Monday: Writing a First Draft

Jumbies cover small

Happy Agent Monday! Now that everyone is back to school, this is a great time for writers to get serious about tackling their muse and getting thoughts onto paper. But ugh that blank page. Are you staring at one today? Then this guest post by my client, the fabulous Tracey Baptiste, may be just what you need.

WRITING A FIRST DRAFT
guest post by Tracey Baptiste

Here’s the thing you need to know about writing a first draft: You just have to get through it. There are no other rules or tricks. A first draft is basically quarrying rocks. You go, you grab the ones that seem about right, you put them in a nice pile, and then you figure out what that pile is supposed to be later on. But being the creative types that we are, we stumble over every word, beat ourselves up over whether a plot arc or twist is working the way we want it to, and wonder—seriously wonder—why certain strings of words look as awful as they do. I’m better than THAT we think. True. We are. But not today. Today is a draft day, and you can whip that horrible string of words into shape in a little thing I like to call rewrites.

If you think I’m imparting this wisdom to help you out with your writing, or to keep you from stalling out, you would be wrong. Well, mostly wrong. Mostly, I impart this wisdom to help myself, because right now I am stalled in a first draft, wondering why everything looks so horribly bad, and seriously reconsidering my sanity for ever having considered I could write as much as a thank you note.

So this is to remind me (you too, but mostly me) to relax already and not worry so much about which words exactly get put on the page, so long as words that mostly approximate the thing that you think you’re trying to say get on the page. I mean, it’s not like you’re going to write an entire draft of the word “and” or anything. It has to make some sense.

OK, deep breaths. We can do this. We just need to remember that there is only one thing a draft needs to be: Done.

 

Tracey Baptiste - headshotTracey Baptiste is the author of the young adult novel Angel’s Grace (Simon & Schuster), and the forthcoming middle grade novel The Jumbies (Algonquin YR). You can find out more about Tracey at her website, www.traceybaptiste.com, by following her on Twitter @TraceyBaptiste, or by connecting on Facebook at TraceyBaptisteWrites.

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6 thoughts on “Agent Monday: Writing a First Draft

  1. Tracey, THANK YOU!!! I SO needed this today as I do just this – first draft and under contract. Eek! DONE. Yes, that’s all it needs to be. And over the years I have fallen in love with the revision process – peeling away those layers to find the beauty in every word, the power in ever scene. I so want to be THERE right now…but I can’t. So ughh. Onward to DONE. Thank you 🙂 Congrats on THE JUMBIES coming out. Adore this cover!

  2. I needed this badly also. While waiting for the edits on my WIP, I started working on a sequel to the WIP. All these wonderful scenes played through my head but getting them down on paper is like pulling teeth. Then I got the edits and saw extensive changes needed. It’s reassuring to know I’m not the only one going through tough first drafts. I’ll move onto DONE with edits and next novel one scene at a time.
    Barbara of the Balloons

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