First Drafts


Here I go again—struggling with the unruly first draft of a new novel. When it comes to writing a new novel, I frankly HATE beginnings. I implore my brain to supply the perfect first line that will immediately grab the reader’s attention and hold it for 100,000 words (I write long). Like a crazed gold prospector, I mine the thesaurus for action verbs and spend too much time researching, while discounting the voices in my head shouting, “Just write the damn first draft!” So, I decided to “research” quotes on writing the first draft by famous authors. Here are my favorites.

“Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything good.”―William Faulkner

“Getting a first draft done is like pushing a peanut with your nose across a very dirty floor.” ─ Joyce Carol Oates

“You can always fix crap. You can’t fix a blank page.” ─ Christina Dodd

Books aren’t written – they’re rewritten. Including your own. It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn’t quite done it.” ─ Michael Crichton

The beautiful part of writing is that you don’t have to get it right the first time, unlike, say, a brain surgeon.” ─ Robert Cormier

 “The first draft of anything is shit.”—Ernest Hemingway (indelicate, but that’s Papa)

Great advice, but my favorite quote comes from a fictional writer.  

“No thinking – that comes later. You write your first draft with your heart. You rewrite with your head. The first key to writing is… to write, not to think!”  William Forrester, played by Sean Connery, in Finding Forrester.

Thanks for stopping by   ~~~ Deborah               

Small SOH1


250,000 small



6 thoughts on “First Drafts

  1. No matter how many books I write, that first scene or chapter always gets — needs — more revision than any other! But you know — you do know, I hope — that at this point, you just need a first line good enough to lead to the second, and a good enough second to trigger the third, and so on. The “real” first line will reveal itself later!

    Great quotes!


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