Having reached the customary point in my first draft where I start fretting about rising word count (roughly seven chapters in), I needed this timely reminder from author Patti Hill, over at the excellent Novel Matters blog today.

It’s a first draft, I’m reminded, and therefore it ain’t gonna be perfect. In my case that means it’s going to sprawl. It’s going to burst at the seams with my indulgence toward setting. It’s going to be filled with rabbit trails in dialogue and character internals and way too much stage business as I throw onto the screen everything I see these fascinating people doing and thinking; I’m still exploring who they are, tossing ideas around on the page to see what sticks, what they pick up and run with.

What they leave behind I’ll come along in the next draft (or the one after that) and tidy up.

“… perfectionism,” sayeth Patti, “will not get you through a first draft, the draft meant to be nothing more than a framework for the beauty to come later.”

A framework for the beauty to come. I can get my head wrapped around that freeing notion.

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