First Half of a First Draft

This is my phone lock screen. A constant reminder. (Credit- Austin Kleon, Steal Like An Artist)

My spec is coming along. I finished the first half of the first draft on Saturday. Which was right on schedule- a feat I accomplished by using my normal brain dump method of writing. I got to class and Michael said we each needed to read our first five pages out loud. Talk about locking up. I write quickly and freely because I have trained myself to do so. Part of that is assuring myself that NO ONE gets to see first drafts. Even if I want someone to see a first draft I do at least a little editing, as a way of keeping that promise to my sub-conscience so that it’ll cooperate when I sit down to write.

The sudden knowledge that I had to read five pages of a first draft out loud to a roomful of people who at least some of which of far more experience (and one of whom is a professional tv writer), and the fact that mine isn’t a sitcom so I don’t get that fast feedback of laughs, made me want to hide. I didn’t have a paper copy so I considered claiming I didn’t have it and apologizing. I could have. Only I would have known that it was on Google Drive, easily accessible on my phone. I did know though, and I decided that chickening out would, in the long run, be more painful than reading my stumbling words aloud.

So aloud they were read. I got some useful feedback, some feedback I don’t know what to do with, and a very lovely compliment from a classmate. As well as an assurance that my dialogue doesn’t sound as stilted to them as it does to me.

Dialogue is something I enjoy quite a bit when I write fanfiction because I love the challenge of making each character sound like they do on the show or in the book. Getting my view across through them. This spec is the same thing. However, it’s also hard because I’ll write a line and it’ll feel off. I don’t know why. I just know it’s not right. Maybe it’s the wrong word. Maybe two words are in the wrong order. Maybe the sentence length is wrong. All I know is that it’s wrong and I have to play a guessing game until it is right. I suspect practice will help that.

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