Uncertainty of First Drafts

First Drafts are Uncertain, by Nature

I’m at that fragile stage of the first draft when I’m not totally committed to this story. I’m still feeling my way and haven’t yet gained confidence that I will like the story, or that my readers will like it. I’m walking on eggshells.

What can I do to GET committed?

Play with voice.

The main thing I’m doing is to continue to play with voice, making sure that I’m not tied into one way of telling this story yet. I’m doing first person, third person, omniscient. Different narrators are popping up. I’m trying a loose collection of short scenes and trying longer, more connected things. Playing.

Keep writing.

Though it feels like I’m swimming upstream against a heavy curtain, I’m still writing. Just bits and pieces each day, but pages are starting to accumulate so that I can start to see the shape of things. I’m writing.

Embrace uncertainty.

Hardest for me personally is to embrace the uncertainty of this stage of a first draft of a novel. I’m liking the main event and the characters and even most of the plot (so far). But I’ve found that there are two things I need to know. First, what is the story that I want to tell. Second, what is the best way to tell that story.

I’ve found the story, at least I’ve caught it and am wrestling with it. What this draft will tell me is whether I’ve found the best way to tell that story.