Slipping and sliding through a novel’s first draft

They aren’t sure yet. The new slide has a curve and its unfamiliarity  overrides the exciting prospect of a breath-stealing rush down its slippery surface.


I feel a little of that uncertainty as I contemplate a shiny new story idea. It hasn’t quite gelled yet and I hesitate to take off into unknown territory. What if the urgent words pull me off track? First drafts can be like that – a headlong dash that sometimes aborts with a whimper.

A little experimentation is called for – a few different approaches explored. Not plotting, but maybe a bit of pre-planning, trying out the options.

And then impatience lends confidence and the ride begins! The first draft is a time to let go of inhibitions and let faith take over. For a writer there is nothing quite like the exhilaration of getting a first draft down on paper.


I suspect my granddaughters know a little of that same feeling.


 What does starting a first draft feel like to you? Does it involve dread or anticipation?

~  ~  ~

10 thoughts on “Slipping and sliding through a novel’s first draft

  1. Judith Robl says:

    Beautiful girls — and embarrassment of riches those. Climbing up the slide rather than the ladder reminds me of editing.

  2. Judith Robl says:

    “an embarrassment of riches” — silly typo!

  3. Lovely comparison and youngsters! For me, a first draft feels more like “skidding,” than “sliding.” I’d love to slide and not skid so much, but then that would involve rewiring. Finish is what I’d like to finally do. Soon. : )

  4. *lol* I just misread the link on your sidebar that says “Compuserve Books & Writers Community” for “Compulsive Books & Writers Community.” Was about to click on it! : )

  5. Adorable children! I get very excited when I start the first draft of a book. I love a clean page, ready to start anything new.

  6. ((Sigh)) First draft? I wish I could come up with some good idea’s and even get that far.

  7. Carol, the first draft is always exciting. I love the anticipation, the knowing that I will be at the top of that hill (or slide) and will take another great ride 🙂

  8. Shari Green says:

    Those pics make for a great analogy! Love it! And I love that they’re holding hands in that first one — so good to have a support system when our confidence is fragile (which is pretty much all the time in this writer’s life!). Great post, Mom. 🙂

  9. Fiona says:

    Starting a first draft is one of the best things about writing I think. It’s thrilling and shiny and new: you just want to abandon everything and write. First drafts are new beginnings, and it’s the little blissful period before the stress of editing comes along. Great analogy as usual, Carol.

  10. Laura Best says:

    Carol, your granddaughters are cute as buttons.
    I’m not sure I know how to write a first draft. I so want to do that without going back to revise but, I find as I’m working on a story, different ideas come to me about the parts I’ve written and I can’t resist the urge to change them. At this point I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to change that.

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