When is your first draft "done"?

When I type “the end” on a first draft, the story is basically finished.  All the plot points are there, the characters are developed, the fight scenes are fleshed out, as are the make-out scenes.  🙂

I thought this was pretty typical for writers — that we all get to ‘the end,’ then we go back and add details, work on descriptions, nail down character tics, looks for redundancies and stupid mistakes. 

Apparently, I was wrong.  As I get to know more writers, beta read,  and blog stalk, I’ve learned there are a lot of ways to get to the end of a draft.  Some of them leave notes like, “Fight scene occurs.  Jack’s nose is broken.” Or, “They kiss.”  (Although, why you would delay writing a kissing scene, I will never understand.)

At first, I thought my way was better.  That you’re not really done until every bit of information is in the story.  Then a friend explained it to me like this:

“Sometimes I get stuck.  I know what has to happen, but the words don’t fall into place. Instead of beating myself up about it, I just move to the next scene that wants to be written.  That way I don’t lose momentum.”

This person also averages three-thousand words a day, compared to my measly one thousand. 

Maybe they know something I don’t.  And I’m guessing that you probably do to. 

What helps you get through a first draft?  Do you skip parts of the story that are difficult to write, or do you get every bit down? 


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