What to do After You Finish Your 1st Draft

Hmm, does the word “rewrite” ring a bell?

But how do you know when you have to rewrite? Or when you don’t?


by Pen Densham

You got to the end of your first draft!  Congratulations.  You just gave birth!

Er, thanks…   Is my child any good?  I hope it’s a genius.  Maybe it’s an idiot?  How can I find out?

Truthfully, a first draft is probably a little bit of all of the above.  But it is a genuine achievement to finish a script. A hallowed one; we have harnessed the magic of our minds to create something that never existed before.

You must celebrate this, in whatever way feels good to you.  It conditions the mind to take on the unknown. To aim high and long.  A good reward trains you to stay with your task through the dark hours of literary pregnancy – the gloomy ‘what have I done to myself?’   of page 20 – the horror of page 50 telling you you have to go back to page 10 and fix things, etc.  It is a mental marathon.   You are a champ just committing to the process – not really knowing quite what kind of child your labor will bring out of you.

Yeah yeah, but is it any good?

The Eskimo sculptor says he discovers and releases the creature in the rock as he whittles away at it.  I think writing is a bit like that. The job of our first draft is to get a grip on the big picture.  Discover our themes, find the hearts of our characters – hopefully lay in some great plot discoveries, long before your freshly minted vision gets near any buyer. Now it is the time to get some good feedback and sense how others see your work.

At Trilogy we call these Trusted Reads, and the people we seek out to take our new baby and check it over, we call, Story Midwives.  These are people who understand the pain of literary birthing and encourage you to push.  You probably know who these people are in your life.

“Oh… That’s called burping – they all do that!”

Stay away from the bullies – the arrogant know-it-alls – people who have no sensitivity. You need your first feedback to come from caring readers who are trying to help you with your own creative child, not those who are looking to imprint their own mark on it.

Read it all at SSN INSIDER