Outrunning my internal editor and critic, or not

Work on the first draft has begun and continues apace. Against the technique of my last novel, where in succession I refined and refined and refined each chapter to just shy of perfection, going at about a crawl, the idea with this one is to get the whole draft onto paper as fast as possible, outrunning my internal editor and critic (chasing behind with their red pen and big black marker and paper-crumpling hands and ridicule-spouting mouths, gaining ground and losing ground and then finding a shortcut, but never actually catching up). Speed is the watchword. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It really shouldn’t be perfect. If it’s perfect then I’m not going fast enough.

Once the draft is on paper I’ll have nowhere to run. Those pesky two will be on me with all kinds of insults and corrections and notes on grammar and general abuse, but they’ll have a good sense of the whole of the story so it won’t be idle criticism. I’ll put them to work on what needs changing on a high level with their tools of destruction. They’ll hit the big areas first—character problems, arc problems, chapter problems. With the bigger problems thoroughly yelled at they’ll move onto less big ones and even less big ones and then smaller ones and then the ones smaller than the smaller ones and lastly the fine detail of the sentences.

Then, finally, at last, after all that refining and refining, I’ll finally have my draft to a point where those pesky two will insinuate that I might as well toss the whole thing into the bonfire.

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