Burning Details

writing, photography, film making and more


The first draft of my garden, if you will. Let’s see how this improves with work…

"The first draft of anything is shit." So said the writer Ernest Hemingway. Brutal, but probably true. One would never offer a first draft for criticism: ideas are barely formed; story lines need rethinking. What has been written always needs serious rewriting.

Up until recently, I thought that meant going over the screenplay, correcting mistakes and ironing out any illogic, but there was never a particularly effective method to this. As I get to the end of my first drafts, I wanted to share a very good blog on this rewrite process.

Dominic Carver's blog on writing a second draft┬ánot only shows a terrific technique, but reveals that in the amount of passes one takes over that benighted first draft, the result isn’t so much draft two as draft eleven. Fascinating, valuable stuff.

I look over what I’ve done so far: first drafts of short films and television screenplays; while I’m pleased that they’ve been completed, I know that this is only the start of the process. I’m sure I’ll look at these first drafts and recognise nonsensical story twists, characters that all sound the same and dull situations.

This is fine: no one will see these drafts. Knowing that is incredibly freeing in getting that first draft completed: one writes each day relentlessly toward completion. Only when the work is done can one work out how to improve it.

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