Your First [or Second] Draft Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect [Or So I Keep Telling Myself]

Your First [or Second] Draft Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect [Or So I Keep Telling Myself]

This is a page from the first draft of Nabokov's Invitation to a Beheading. There's not much on that page that hasn't been moved or crossed out [source].
This is a page from the first draft of Nabokov’s Invitation to a Beheading. This is what my second draft will probably look like when it’s time to start working on draft #3 [source].
Having just submitted the second draft of my feature film to my tutor, I’m feeling an overwhelming sense of relief.  But, at the same time, I’m nervous.  When we met to discuss the first draft, let’s just say that it didn’t go as well as I’d hoped.  The tutor was very encouraging; he said that my film is very well-written, and that I should be proud of what I’ve achieved… but there were just a few things that need to be reworked – including the entire set-up/premise.  Now, in order to keep myself going, and not feel too bad about it all, I did a little bit of research into books and films whose first drafts were perhaps just as terrible as my own.  Did you know, for example, that the original draft of Alien [which was called Memory] didn’t actually contain any aliens?  Yeah.  Here are some other examples…

  • Floating around the internet is a 1981 draft of Back to the Future that is significantly darker than the film that ended up being made.  You can read the whole thing here.

The moral of the story is that having a really awful first draft is okay, as long as you’re prepared to keep working with it until it becomes something awesome.  At least, that’s what I’m going to keep telling myself.

 

 

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