On writing: Editing in the first draft

One of the polarizing subjects in the writing community is the question of whether or not to edit in the first draft. The first group believes editing in the first draft helps get the draft to a “good enough” state, which allows the writer to move on to the next section without worrying the previous part was trash and the whole draft is inherently flawed. The second group believes editing in the first draft is Sisyphean in nature since most final works are significantly different from the first draft. After the first draft is complete, entire scenes, chapters, characters are cut and left behind, and any time the author invested in perfecting those sections of the work is, in a way, wasted.

I tend to scribble a lot by Nic PheeI have seen a first draft referred to as an “exploration,” which I feel captures the nature of drafting a story: it’s a journey into other worlds, other people’s lives. What will you find? What characters will you meet? You might start with a clear idea, but things become fluid and change. As I write, I discover new characters, new plots, and new relationships, and sometimes there are quite a few surprises along the way.

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