Another Thing About First Drafts

Yesterday’s post, by the way.

Far be it from me to be like, “Oh, writing is easy, you can do it in these six easy steps” or “every first draft is a good first draft.”

You can’t and they aren’t.  Not even if you make the condition that every draft can be fixed–because that’s not true, either.  Some drafts cannot be fixed.  You just have to ditch ’em and start over.  Sometimes you have to start over from starting over, if you hanging on to some particularly stupid concept about writing or storytelling.*

But editing is not a superior skill to writing.  No amount of editing can fundamentally “fix” your writing.


A good editor is an advocate for the reader.  A good writer has a unique point of view.  These two things can work well together–but neither one can replace the other.  They’re too fundamentally different.

No advocate for a reader, no matter how good, is going to make your point of view worth reading.  Sorry.  And likewise, no matter how bad, no editor will suck the life out of your work.  That’s always on the writer.

Well, okay.  The Reader’s Digest Condensed Books edition, with its missing sex scenes, violence, naughty language, and lots of description and internal perceptions, could suck the life out of a work.  But even then it was almost impossible to do so.


*I’ve had to do this, because sometimes I’m an idiot.


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