What is a first draft?

What is a first draft?

Part of the 12×12 in 12 is to create a FIRST DRAFT of a picture book. This is not a completed manuscript, it’s just a draft, and a first draft at that.

Following from me announcing I had completed the draft on the Facebook group, I saw a question about drafts.

A first draft will be different for everyone, and, in many ways, it’s a foreign concept for me, at least since I was in high school.

For me, it’s the bones of the story. I usually write it out and then go back over it. When I start going back over the story and tweaking, that’s the sign that it’s a first draft. After that, it’s at the polishing stage.

A first draft is also rough. It needs polishing, in some cases, a lot of polishing. But that’s OK, it’s a draft.

I also look at it from the school point of view and ask: “Is this what I would have written in class for my teacher to give her first comments?” That was what a first draft was when I was in high school. The teacher would comment on the rough draft and then I would work on it so it was ready to hand in.

The story I’ve finished is a lot of fun, so I’ll be doing some polishing and tweaking as I would love to see it published. I can see an illustrator having a lot of fun with the illustrations, and kids having fun with the book. I’m looking forward to working on it more, but it needs to rest for a bit.

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  1. My definition of a first draft is one where I feel I’ve got the beginning, middle and end of a story (even if all or some of those parts change) and I feel ready to give it to my critique group. This usually turns out to be about the third run-through after I get the whole story down. But like you said, it’s different for everyone.

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