What My First Drafts Look Like
There’s a sort of misconception that writers are awesome at writing. Almost everyone I know, no matter how good they are, have told me how embarrassingly bad their first drafts are.
Even these established, wonderful, prize winning authors will admit this. But I think the reason that this idea that writers are naturally good at writing comes from two things.
1. These established writers are established. Which means they have so much practice that they are probably better at writing good first drafts than when they first started.
2. No one is willing to show their dirty laundry in public, so we don’t see these crappy drafts.
Now I’m not saying I’m a good writer or anything. That’s not really up to me to decide. But I am willing to show off my dirty laundry.
So I decided to share with you a snippet of a piece I worked on for fun. It comes from Chuck Wendig’s prompt to write a Biopunk Space Opera. I just wrote for fun and with no inhibitions and no meter as to what was good or bad.
Years and years ago, before the stars stopped shining in the twinkle-white way they do against the deep black night, a woman once stood on a hill and looked at the Milky Way splattered and painted across the sky.
Alada stood on the hill and looked up. She stood in the exact spot she imagined this long-ago woman would have stood and stared at the equations streaming across her line of vision. The galaxy had been marked, completely, and there was no more twinkle-white to see. Alada lifted her hand and brushed away the numbers and letters and symbols that clouded her vision but behind them, there was only black. She let go of the woman with her shining stars that Alada imagined once stood in this very spot long ago and walked back down into the safety of the dale before the Corporation could find her.
Now that she was disconnected from the Network, it was getting harder for her to navigate her world. Her vision had been upgraded when she was a baby. The Network provided her with the canvas, the paint and the picture by which she would visually live her life. She was able to download a basic spec of the geography of the Earth, but beyond that, everything belonged to the Network. If she wanted to see fully, she would have to plug back in. But if she did that –
“Why’s it so goddamn muggy here anyway,” Mott said and swiped at his neck as if he were being attacked by a mosquito.
“We leave tonight.” Alada walked toward the ship, hidden in the brush. It was a small ship, small enough to go undetected unless someone looked for it.
“Hey, I don’t even know if I have enough energy to get us past the astroid belt.”
Alada kept walking pretending she hadn’t heard Mott. She pressed her hand against the plate, which was already programed to read her biofeedback and the door to the ship opened.
She turned toward Mott and cocked her ear toward him, waiting for an argument. She couldn’t see him, but she could hear the rustling which meant he wasn’t in the mood for arguing and was packing up.
“I suppose you want me to fly the damn thing too,” he answered back as he passed her and walked aboard the ship.
Alada smiled at this. He knew she couldn’t fly the ship. She disconnected from the Network which meant not only could she not see, she didn’t know how to fly ships either. She was lucky she found someone sympathetic to her cause that did know and was willing to do it secretly under the nose of the Corporation.
Mott was a Sullied, which meant he was 100% tech free. He had no bio-upgrades or DNA mods. He lived disconnected from the Network. Although technically not illegal, the Sullied were looked down upon and not welcome anywhere under the influence of the Corporation. Alada, however, was a Disassociate. She had bio-upgrades that were given to her by the Corporation. Since she disconnected, she was a criminal and the Corporation would be looking for her.
“You’ll want to leave that behind,” Mott said and pointed at the screen on her wrist. Alada looked down at her wrist out of habit. She could see Mott, he had a faint bio-glow that her eyes picked up, but couldn’t what he was pointing at. But she knew the screen was there, embedded in her skin.
The screen was part of a GPS system that tracked her move. She could check in with her friends when she went out, she could be found if she got lost or kidnapped, and she could be found by the Corporation if she decided to disconnect and flee out of their sphere of influence.
She looked up at him with a cocked eyebrow. “How do you expect me to leave it behind?”
Mott grinned and Alada heard the click of metal against metal. She jumped as the cold blade touched her wrist. Motts hand was warm against her arm, but he held her firmly. She swallowed and took a deep breath in and nodded.
I don’t really have a reason for writing this which is probably part of the reason it’s boring and doesn’t go anywhere. I wrote out of my comfort zone – I am not familiar with these genres. But I wanted to give it a go. This is what I wrote without any editing or changing. I turned off my inner critic and just typed.
If I were to turn this into something I wanted to publish, I would first try to find out my reason for writing this. Why do I want you to read it? Then I would go back over it many many many times and fix this so that it says what I want to say how I want to say it. Again, this is just a for fun thing, but I just wanted to give people an idea as to what comes out of my head and out on the page the first time around.