Monday, December 6, 2010

Saint Alexandra Sokoloff and My Sucky First Draft

Now I know that I usually do an alert for a great article on Wednesdays (and lately that's been a little off by a day or two) but I'm running early this week.

Alexandra Sokoloff is an amazing writer whose blog provides 'Screenwriting Tricks For Authors' which is just perfect for me as I totally get the whole scene and act analogies because of my own theatre background but also because of how I visualise my book.  Anywho, I've been busy and only just got around to visiting Alexandra's blog again - she's been busy promoting her new book, running a workshop, starting a new book and as a result didn't blog in November.  But now she's done this fabulous post about the things she covered and new things she learned from the online course she ran.

Of course there's a goldmine of advice but right at this point in time the thing that jumped out at me was number 14: Your First Draft Is Always Going To Suck.  I'll let you read the entry because it's so motivating that she 'gets' it when you get stuck and her advice is no-pulled-punches and in your face but I like that.  And best of all, there's advice for what to do to make your ms not so sucky after you've written that first draft.

But the line I took away from the article that I think I will write on a post it and stick to my monitor was actually in the comments.  In response to a commenter, St Alexandra replied: "IMO, the only thing a first draft needs to be is done".  Simple.  Insightful.  Beautiful.

It's so nice to be given so much hope from a writer who has crossed over (not in the dead sense but in the published sense) and is now plopped gracefully on a fluffy white cloud, draped in blindingly white robes, harp in one hand while the other taps out mercifully glorious advice. 

At the moment I feel like if I complete my ms it will be a miracle but if it does then I'll be contacting the Vatican to have Alexandra canonised - she could be the patron saint of Blocked Writers. 


Nas Dean said...

Hi, good post and so true. Now I'm off to check out the link!

Joanna St. James said...

ha ha, good luck finishing your story - my problem is getting into edits once am done.
Let me know when you are done I can easily hop over to the vatican for u, its not too far from me.

Elissa Graham said...

Oh you lucky thing. When I was there a few years ago I seriously contemplating taking holy orders in the vain hope that I could get a job there (kind of like taking acting lessons in the hope of becoming George Clooney's next leading lady!).

If I finish the book I'll pop over for a visit and drop in on my mate Ben (aka El Papa) at the same time!

Sally Clements said...

Great post, Elissa. I love Alexandra, she's really good and insightful, and her blog has got to be one of the best in the blogosphere, its so full of gems!
Great comment too. The more I write, the truer it seems that the first draft is always going to suck. And its a great release to accept that, because then you can get on with the business of writing, and save the angsting for the second draft. I write little comments in a notebook as I'm writing, (eg. page 21, make this sexier! or page 5, layer in more senses around here). Then I get on with it, and have notes to look at on the second pass.
Thanks for the reminder about AS's blog, I haven't visited for a while, but am heading off there now!

Talei said...

I love this - 'the only thing the first draft has to be is done' - so very true. I also like the concept of visualising scenes, good point dear lady! I write alot of dialogue and am always dreaming up scenes for the characters.

Happy writing!! You will do it!! *finish that MS, show it whose the boss lady* ;)

L'Aussie said...

Hey nice to meet you Elissa, fellow Aussie. Saw you over at Jo's. Fellow romance writer too. How good is that! I've got two romances in the edit phase right now, but amuse myself writing short/flash fiction the rest of the time.