First Draft

Watching my writing-group friends prolifically turn out credible work, week after week, in a vast range of formats and genres is always inspiring and their encouragement in my own project is without doubt what has driven me to complete my first draft. The majority of my story has been literally wrung out of me a sentence at a time and has taken years, with the last and by far the most difficult chapters becoming the greatest challenge of all.

I had the plot down from the beginning and always knew where I was going with it. Amongst the writing fraternity, I would be classed as a plotter (one who plots) as opposed to a “pantster” (one who writes by the seat of their pants, unfettered by pre-conceived story arcs, hooks or plot points).

The plot for Pandrimogene did not magically come to me fully formed, but the concept of the story always felt whole. That said, having spent seventy-five thousand words, tacking up that challenging mountain of story arc, in fear and trepidation of having a soggy middle or a damp squib for an ending, I confess I nearly fell at the last hurdle. I had no idea the last few chapters would be so difficult to get down and I now realise that after all that effort, a paralysing fear of an anti-climatic climax threatened any closure and those key chapters almost never made it onto the page.

If I have learnt anything from the process so far, it is this. Just get it on the page. It doesn’t matter how – plot or don’t plot, run or crawl, type or scrawl, it doesn’t matter, just keep going until you get to the end. Then you can mess with it. Then you can change it, shape it and ruthlessly edit it. And now that I’ve got there, I can tell you that’s the fun bit!