At the moment, The Guardian is a red pen free zone


Is this The Guardian? Wait and see…

One of the joys of writing a first draft is that it is a red pen free zone. Until you reach the end of the story, anything goes, incorrect spelling, incorrect punctuation, even the wrong words and phrases – you name it and you will find you have added it. Beginning the first of many editing sessions is the time to take a critical look at what you had initially written over the many months since you started.

By not worrying too much about what you have written in the first draft, it allows you to get that idea out of your head and onto paper, or in my case, this laptop’s screen. Initially you can write the way you think, instead of observing the standard form of English required for the finished product. To look at it another way, just imagine that at this stage your WIP (work in progress) is nothing more than a very long letter to a friend or relative. While it tells the tale, inevitably it is a tad mixed up. Everything you wanted to say is right there in front of you. Now all you have to do is make sense of it.

The time when you have to become your own worst critic comes much later when you begin that first editing session. To achieve this you have no choice but to become totally ruthless – not an easy process when it comes to your literary toddler. But until you delete some passages, replacing them with others. Cut and paste a particular sentence, or sentences, into the correct place, or maybe even totally rewrite a paragraph or chapter, you haven’t edited it properly.

As for my new science fiction novel, The Guardian, I have finally written the core of chapter one in just 1,996 words. In it I have established the three principal characters Major Adler Stevens, Lieutenant Lynne Crawford, and The Guardian itself. All the way through the chapter, the characteristics, quirks, likes and dislikes, all part of the relationship between the two humans, have been revealed. Not so with The Guardian. All you know about it at this stage is that it watches anyone it deems to be a threat, and…

Oops almost gave something away then LOL.

Fleshing out the chapters will come much later, once I have finished writing the first draft. Now it’s on to chapter two for me.

More later, be good.


31 thoughts on “At the moment, The Guardian is a red pen free zone

  1. Yep, your first draft is allowed to suck. Those who get in that endless loop of making sure every chapter is perfect before they move on run the risk of getting burned out or wasting a lot of time on a section that may have to be cut or changed drastically in later drafts.


    • At some stage, we’ve all been there Mysti. This time I’ve abandoned that approach to go back to basics. First write the original draft, then edit and rewrite the living daylights out of it. πŸ˜‰


      • Yep, though I do find that writing out a loose outline beforehand helps keep my thoughts straight. Mind you, it’s LOOSE. My outlines and I have an understanding that anything in them is subject to change at any time. They usually end up with lots of things scratched out and even more things written in. Add to that all the notes I make when ideas hit or I’m doing research or when characters start speaking and I have to write their conversations down before I forget them, and it’s all really rather spontaneous. Call it planned clutter, if you will πŸ™‚


  2. Exactly the way I work, Jack. I never even look at what I wrote the previous session, but get straight on with the story. Any errors and gaps can be edited in or out when the story’s finished. Good luck with this.


  3. The fun is writing the story. The work is editing. You know you’re doing a pretty good job when you realize how sick you’re getting with the story. Time to turn it over to a set of eyes.


  4. I agree with you… the first draft is the most fun part of writing, that and the research! But I have one difference; each day, I always have to read over what I wrote the previous day before I begin writing; I may edit a little, or I may not, but what that does, is it sets me up in the right frame of mind for continuing the story, and helps with continuity. I actually LOVE that first big edit! Sometimes it really hurts to cut or change parts, but I know how much stronger I’m making it, and I get a huge buzz out of that.


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