Friday, May 14, 2010

Forgive me reader, for I have sinned: TMI, Super Cheese and WTF

Confession time.

First Draft Sins.

First drafts are dirty, icky, stinky places. All first drafts (or at least my first drafts) are crap. Deep crap. And even though the drafts have gotten better, it seems novel after novel, the same old grievances show up.

My most common first draft transgressions:

TMI: Really? Does the reader need to know those stupid details about the MC in the first chapter? Does the reader EVER need that info? Do we need to meet all the characters right there when the story starts? Most likely – the answer is no. The delete key is my friend.

Super Cheese: Some of the language, and especially those love scenes – wow, so cheesy! I mean, gag inducing cheesy, like my dedicated and lovely crit partners are writing snarky comments and calling me out on it cheesy. And the fact that the beta comments are right on and make me crack up, probably a bad sign for my draft, but a good sign for my sense of humor. Me and rewrites quickly become best buddies!

WTF - How many times does my red pen scrawl WTF IS THIS??? across the first draft – A lot. A whole lot. Some stuff doesn’t fit, doesn’t make sense, doesn’t flow and doesn’t even belong. But you know what, it’s OK, because it’s a first draft. Slash and delete my friend, slash and delete.

My first drafts have gotten cleaner with each book I write, but still I run into so many first draft errors that I’m totally cringing when I read through it. And I feel like sending my crit partners on an all expenses paid vacation or at least sending them a case of wine and chocolate for wading through the crap that is the draft.

So, tell me: what are your first draft sins?