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Location: Baltimore-DC Area

Author who writes for a living and lives for writing. // WOMB: a novel in utero (Merge Publishing 2017) // TRACKS: A Novel in Stories (Atticus Books 2011) // FLIGHTLESS GOOSE, a storybook for children (Writers Lair Books 2008) // www.EricDGoodman.com

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

McDermott on Drafts

We've all heard it: writing is rewriting. A first draft should never be considered complete. In order to be successful as a writer, it's important not to fall in love with your own first draft.

Alice McDermott knows a thing or two about the various stages of a successful novel. Here's her take.

"The first draft is spillage." A writer should just let the words and story flow from you without regard to rules, structure, plot, character development, what makes sense, what doesn't jive. Write the first draft from your heart, as it comes to you. Hey, it's only a first draft.

"Then," McDermott suggests, "write at least three drafts. In rewrites, spend the time, don't try to save time. Hone the prose, shape it, redo it. Don't just re-copy with minor edits-that's the easy way out."

With the soul of your first draft already on paper, the second, third, and any additional drafts should be where the true craftsmanship comes in. Sculpt your clay into something wonderful and unique, something others will want to read as well as yourself.

"A Novel should evolve from its own predictable themes," McDermott suggests. And those themes will be present in your first draft. "

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