Tag Archive: Plot hole

Sep 10

First Dates and First Drafts – How My Personal Life Mirrors My Professional One

WHAT’S PLAYING: Simple Minds “Don’t You Forget About Me”

Despite my introverted nature, I have occasionally ventured into the murky waters of romance. With one exception, my forays into dating usually last for about a month. Two at the most. My past relationships fell apart for a variety of reasons, some of them my fault. (If anyone asks though, I blame my exes. Every. Last. One.)

Truth is, one of the major reasons dating never seems to work out for me is that after a couple of months it actually starts to involve…well, work. You know what I mean. The sheen of newness has been worn away by near daily interaction, and you find that all those little quirks (so adorable back when you started dating), are now just annoying. Soon, you find yourself sickened by the very sight of them. (Or is that just me?)

I tend to have the same problems with writing projects. They start out all brilliant and cool and fresh. Next thing you know, they’ve fizzled faster than a Tiki Barber comeback. When that happens, I usually find that it’s not the story’s fault. Yes, there are major plot and character flaws, but that’s common for most first drafts. No, it’s my perception of the story that has changed. Suddenly, it’s no longer flowing from my brain like water, cascading from my fingertips to the screen. Instead, it’s more like sludge, molasses in wintertime, bathroom breaks after too much cheese. Every page, every sentence, every word requires a monumental effort.

After the initial rush, I often find that I have no idea where I’m going or how I plan to get there. Plotting and outlining helps, but sometimes, the best way to figure out the story you want to tell is to wade hip deep into another one. Though usually I get so fed up with the struggle that I abandon the project midway through the first draft.

Not this time though. With a little prodding from my mentor, the magnificent John Shirley, I actually finished the first draft of my novel and am slowly making my way through the second. Yes, it’s still awful – full of plot holes and cardboard characters – but I’ve finally found a story I want to tell, need to tell, and a main character that can not only pull it off, but do so with style.

It will be months, if not years, before it’s ready to released to the public, but at least I can finally say that I’ve written a novel. I’ve finally broken my streak of abandoning first drafts.

Now, if only I could same the same thing about dating.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.jacquitalbot.com/2011/09/first-dates-first-drafts/