First Drafts: They Don't Have to Be Perfect, They Just Have to Be Done
First drafts are rough, you guys. For me anyway. I am a plantser (a panster who likes to have a very rough outline to work with) which can make first drafts challenging. My characters tend to deviate from the path I set out for them, taking on a life of their own. And no matter how hard I try to get them back in the direction I set out for them, they just don’t listen!
This was definitely the case with If You Only Knew.
I started writing IYOK way back in 2014. By the time it’s released it will have been six years since I began the first draft (insert OH EM GEE Gif here)!
Initially I had one scene set in my mind for IYOK: The one where Corey goes to confess to Hopper about his part in the vandalism of Hopper’s home. That was it. It took me a few months to figure out the actual plot of the story. Why that boy was there. Who was the girl standing by, trying to stop things from escalating? Once all the pieces came together it was a lot of fun finishing that draft (and it went by pretty quickly which is very unusual for me).
I entered IYOK into Pitch Wars and got in as an alternate in 2014. I got requests but also went through a couple more revisions before sending it out. Then, right before I uploaded it onto the Swoon website during the summer of ‘17, I did one last round of revisions. Of course, since then IYOK has also gone through several rounds of edits.
The big takeaway for me during this whole process is that the first draft is just the beginning. That first spark, the first chapter, it’s the jumping off point for what your book will eventually become. It doesn’t have to be perfect. You just have to get it done. And boy am I glad that IYOK ended up being one the projects I decided to finish (I *may* have many that are in various stages of disarray). Because if I hadn’t who knows where I would be now?