After weeks of initial development, I began working on the first draft of Backstop to coincide with this year’s ScriptFrenzy competition, run by the awesome folks over at The Office of Letters and Light. For those who have never heard of ScriptFrenzy, it is an annual contest that invites writers everywhere to attempt to write a 100-page document (screenplay, graphic novel, play, etc.) during the thirty days of April. It’s a great way to motivate writers to finally get around to working on that one project that has seemingly eluded them for some time.
As of yesterday (April 21), I passed the 100 page mark for Backstop, finishing nine days shy of the thirty day time limit. While I’m glad to have gotten so far, so quickly, my work is far from finished. Backstop, itself, is still just a mess of written scenes and dialog that somewhat resembles a screenplay, and still about thirty pages shy of reaching a logical conclusion that I can consider the ending.
After the first draft is completed is where the real — and often painful — work begins: editing and revising. As I said above, my first drafts are almost always, and without question, a mess of inconsistent characters, gaping plot holes, and characters that serve no other purpose than to move the plot along. Despite these issues, I’m not actually bothered by their precesne. My first drafts are always rushed, done more to get the building blocks of the story and characters onto paper; it’s only the later drafts that I’ll come back to mold each aspect into something I can be proud to put my name on.
So, while the more taxing aspect of the writing process is coming to an end, another part is about to begin that involves me re-reading the entire first draft, wondering why I should even bother, and then re-reminding myself for the millionth time that the level of brilliance I am expecting of myself just does not happen in draft one.
Here come the fun times!