General, writing

Your Drafts Don’t Have to Make Sense

One of the things I hated most out of any class in my school career was hearing the words “your drafts will be graded.” Partially because I am very much a discovery writer. My early drafts are largely out of order, miss entire sections necessary to make sense, or even worse, are centered entirely around the wrong thing. Partially because in the case of school essays, because it was expected that early drafts made sense.

Thankfully that fact does not hold true, especially not in creative writing. An early draft is you learning the story, and hearing from the characters what they think happened. It doesn’t need to make sense because it is, in essence, the base materials for building your house or garden or whatever you choose to think of your story as. You always want to have extra materials on hand, and sometimes you’ll simply decide that the paint scheme needs changing.

Early drafts don’t have to make sense because they’re little more than you determining what sort of puzzle you’re putting together. Maybe it’s one of those glow in the dark ones, that only reveals a hidden picture when you turn out the lights. Maybe it’s simple and goes together pretty easily. Or maybe it has lots of details to form an intricate final scene. Perhaps its one of those ones with no border.

That’s not to say that early drafts make no sense at all. Dumping a few thousand words into the same story is bound to make something, after all. As a writer however, it’s important to remember that you don’t have to share those early drafts. The only person who has to grade them in the end, is you.


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