The Story Of A First Draft (Part Two)

pathsignsIf you joined us for Part One of The Story of a First Draft, you know that the Muse came to Betsy in the darkness of her mind.  Well, Betsy’s mind is generally dark (and somewhat blank), but in this case the darkness represented the story she is about to write before the writing began.  The Muse pointed Betsy towards a spotlight on the far side of the darkness, which is the ending of the story – where they thought they wanted to end up.  Then she indicated a glowing square under Betsy’s feet – the situation they’re starting with.

Betsy and the Muse talk, and suddenly there is a faint path between the glowing square and the spotlight.  That path is the initial vision of the story – the story in potential, as it were.  Now Betsy is ready to set out on her journey by taking her first steps towards a first draft.  Just a side note, if Betsy were a plotter, these steps would be taken by writing an extensive outline.  However, Betsy is a pantser with trust issues – in other words, she plots a little bit and then writes by the seat of her pants (a true pantser doesn’t plot at all).  She did enough plotting to uncover the initial vision of the story.  Now she’s going to see if she can actually find the story the vision indicated.

Will she succeed?  Let’s see…


*Betsy is standing on the glowing square of the situation she is starting with*  *The Muse stands next to her*

Here we go.  *Betsy writes the first scene* *a solid glowing square appears at her feet* Cool! *Betsy steps onto the new glowing square* Oh, I see how to get to the next square. *Betsy writes the next scene* *A new glowing square appears adjacent to the first one* *Betsy steps onto that* *Muse walks with her, whispering directions, humming tunes, pushing stray thoughts to and fro* *Betsy continues writing, continues stepping onto the new glowing squares that appear*  *Suddenly, she stops*

*Muse stops humming* What’s up?

I don’t know what to do. See that little spur going off from this square?  It looks like there are two ways I can go.  I can either follow the faint path, or I can go this other way.  Maybe I should do that instead.

Do what you want, but that’s a whole different direction.

But this other way is better. The faint path is boring. This other way will be much more interesting.  Besides, I know what I’m doing.

*Muse mumbles* bnwn2h0nhgh0ah

Yes, I think I’ll take this other way. *Betsy writes* *Glowing square appears* *Betsy steps onto it* *Betsy writes again* *another glowing square appears* *Betsy steps onto it*  *Betsy looks around*  Hey! How did I get all the way out here?

Nbon3ngnngnngngn *Muse mumbles* *Muse has not moved*

*Betsy thinks*  I’m not getting any closer to the spotlight. In fact the spotlight seems to be getting further away. At this rate I’ll have to have a lot more glowing squares to get there. And I seem to be up against this black wall… *Betsy runs hand over wall* Maybe I can break through it.

*Betsy writes squares and tosses them down, but can’t take any steps forward*

I can’t write! This is so stupid! This book is so stupid! I’m so stupid! *Betsy sits down on glowing square* *eats some pastries* *sulks* I completely suck. Everything I’ve ever written sucks. I should just throw it all out and forget about it and live in a cubicle forever.

*Days pass*

*Betsy thinks*  Hey, you know what? I wonder if I should go back to that place where I decided not to follow the faint path and went out on this spur instead. *Betsy carefully retraces footsteps back along the glowing blocks* *vines and brambles have grown up, making it hard to see her way* *she tries to untangle the threads weaving all around her feet* *finally she gives up and just cuts them* *immediately finds herself on glowing block with the muse*

Finally! *Muse glares at her, hands on hips* I told you not to go that way.

You were just mumbling. *Betsy frowns*

You weren’t listening. *Muse points* Now go that way, dumbass.

*Betsy writes and a glowing square appears* *she steps onto it* Hey! I was able to move forward! I can see my way now.

Well, duh.

*process continues* *then Betsy pauses* Hey! I think I see it now!

*Muse buffs nails on robe* *holds them out* *admires them* What do you see?

The way to get to the ending. *Betsy frowns* *considers the path*  *considers the horizon*  *considers the glowing squares*  No, I think I’ve made a mistake again.

*Muse pauses in act of freshening lipstick* What?  Why?

*Betsy points to the horizon*  *Now there are many faint spotlights in the distance*  *some are big, some are small*  Look – there are a ton of other endings out there.  I think I’m picking the wrong one.

*Muse snaps lipstick closed and stows it away in robe*  *huffs out sigh of disgust* But the one you’re heading towards is the one you’ve been heading towards, basically, since the beginning. Why in the heck do you think it’s the wrong one now?

Because the other ones seem prettier and more interesting and won’t it be fun if we do this and this and this? *writes squares, tosses them down*

*Muse throws up hands*  But now you’re heading in a completely different direction!  Again!

Yeah, but the story I’ve been writing is stupid and I should never have written it this way and I’m stupid and the characters are stupid and nobody will ever want to read it and I’ll never be good enough.  Oh, dang it!  I just know I’ve just made a mistake back in the beginning and now I need to forget all of this and start all over again! *Betsy turns around* *Betsy begins to gather up squares as she races back to where she started*

*Muse grabs her arm and stops her* What the hell are you doing?

I told you. I’m starting over. *Betsy cuddles glowing squares to her chest* But I can’t bear to get rid of any single little thing I’ve written, so I won’t delete these.  I’ll store them away.

*Muse rolls eyes* I’ve told you. You have to trust the story! This can go a hundred different ways, but this is the way you’re taking it.  If it’s not exactly right, you can refine it in the second draft.

No, no.  It needs to be perfect now.  *Betsy hides glowing squares in a closet for safekeeping* Okay, now let’s start again.

*Muse sighs*  Oh, for heaven’s sake.


To be continued…






Speak Your Mind


Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.