The reason I prefer unedited, sloppy even, first drafts.

“Every first draft is perfect because all the first draft has to do is exist. It’s perfect in its existence. The only way it could be imperfect would be to NOT exist.”
― Jane Smiley

I admit it, I love my first drafts. Don’t get me wrong, I believe that editing is crucial for a book’s success. As a reader I want to read an edited and proofread book, not a sloppy draft. In other words, I want to read a complete book. As a writer, though, I prefer drafts. The draft is the purest form of the story. You can see where the writer struggled the most, where he was overwhelmed by his thoughts and his feelings were unfiltered from grammar rules, the plot or his editor. First drafts are like a rough diamond. Ugly but also pure. In the editing you change pretty much the whole book. Although I believe that an edited book is better than the draft and more shiny, some of its magic is lost. When you write a draft you get your hands dirty in order to put your thoughts down on paper.

As Jennifer Egan said: The bottom line is that I like my first drafts to be blind, unconscious, messy efforts; that’s what gets me the best material.

It’s a messy but also  fun process. The writer is eager to move his story forwards and I want to read and feel his impatience.  If I could describe the process of writing and editing a book, it would be like that: a writer writes a book with his heart and edits it with his mind. What do you believe?

One thought on “The reason I prefer unedited, sloppy even, first drafts.

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