In Praise of First Drafts

By SP Turgon

Scream! Sob! Accuse! Lament! Rage!  Reveal!

In terms of catharsis, nothing beats a first draft.

It’s where you get to yell at everybody, cry your eyes out, sling accusations willy-nilly, and bring up every stored-away-for-the-right-moment injury that happened throughout your lifetime.

Or, if you’re holding family grudges, maybe the inciting incident didn’t even happen in your lifetime. Maybe it’s cherished like a heirloom through generations because it still ignites passions against the inheritors of the other side’s equally mummified truths.

First drafts are for not giving a good mound of steaming feces.


Writing a memoir and hating on your parents?

Slather your first draft with every single thing they (as products of their own parents) did wrong. Try to get it all in those pages: how your parents hurt you, ignored you, neglected you, restricted you, wailed on you or babied you too much. And be sure to include how it twisted you into the person who made mistakes that someone without such treatment wouldn’t have done.


Writing an exposé of your industry?

Be sure to include every name of every person and every company even tangentially involved. List their transgressions, failures, faults, ignorance, bullying, stealing, manipulations. Be sure to assign blame.


Writing a book based on your years of experience as a psychotherapist?

Dig into that treasure trove of unexpressed frustration over how people get involved with shady partners, try to put themselves in their graves with various addictions, can’t seem to step outside themselves to see the other side or try a new solution, circle round and round the same old themes or emotions.


Writing a history of a movement?

Rail away at the stupid machinations of government or controlling groups that made the movement necessary, the egoistic leaders and their manipulations of power, the abuses of one person toward another, the treachery or laziness of members, the spinelessness in the face of assault.


You can change it up later.

Letting your first draft capture everything helps raw passions smooth out in later drafts and reveal the jewel of your message, the one that actually lands on bookstore shelves.


For more great info on book writing and publishing see This Business of Books (2016) by Claudia Suzanne 


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