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Thread: Others reading first draft?

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  1. #1
    practical experience, FTW quianaa2001's Avatar
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    Others reading first draft?

    I was wondering if anyone lets people read their first drafts as they write? My husband is also a writer and I let him look over scenes as I progress to save suggestions for edits and rewriting. Then I'll bother him with a second draft down the road. I don't want to annoy him or have him not want to read the second draft lol but that's what partners are for right?
    Was just wondering if anyone else did the same?

  2. #2
    practical experience, FTW Raindrop's Avatar
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    Oh no, absolutely not! My first drafts are NSFR (Not Safe For Readers).

    I talk about the plot at length with my partner, though. I bounce plot ideas off him, tell him what make my characters tick, etc., so by the time I've finished the first draft, he has a pretty good idea of what the book is about.
    If I could put all my typos together, I'd have enough material for a trilogy.

  3. #3
    practical experience, FTW quianaa2001's Avatar
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    NSFR (Not Safe For Readers) I love that! LOL

    I might move to your approach, I don't want to burn him out before he can read something with actual substance

  4. #4
    undistractable mccardey's Avatar
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    No, never. I would find it too easy to slip into pleasing One Reader instead of working the work. (Also, I'd cry.)

  5. #5
    figuring it all out Serddar's Avatar
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    I do. Sending a first draft to one of my friends who enjoys reading variety of things, getting a response out of him, see how that fits with what I had in mind or how it contradicts, because other eyes might see what I do not.
    "We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far."

  6. #6
    Scribe of the girls in the basement Marissa D's Avatar
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    Bits and pieces maybe, if I'm having problems with a specific scene, but no more than that. I'm very protective and mother-hennish when a book is in its infancy; after it's done, it gets kicked out of the nest and is fair game. Which all sounds very Darwinian...

  7. #7
    Likes metaphors mixed, not stirred Chris P's Avatar
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    I'm veeeeery careful with it. I had one beta reader who insisted she wanted to see the draft when it was done, and despite all sorts of cautions and disclaimers that it was a first draft, she only got a few chapters in and gave up in disgust, saying it was too rough to be readable.

    Well, that's what I was trying to tell her . . .
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  8. #8
    figuring it all out Serddar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris P View Post
    I'm veeeeery careful with it. I had one beta reader who insisted she wanted to see the draft when it was done, and despite all sorts of cautions and disclaimers that it was a first draft, she only got a few chapters in and gave up in disgust, saying it was too rough to be readable.

    Well, that's what I was trying to tell her . . .
    That is actually very funny, made me chuckle.
    "We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far."

  9. #9
    Not as sweet as you think Aggy B.'s Avatar
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    I have one alpha-reader who gets chapters in rough form. And then, when the first draft is finished it goes to my agent. (I sometimes do a little fill-in work to better work transitions between scenes or add scenes that I realized while drafting needed to go into earlier sections, but that doesn't happen with every book and there's not a full-on second draft prior to the agent-read.)

    However, the alpha-reader rarely gets second/third/fourth drafts (if they occur) because they've already seen the first draft. (I show them new chapters, but not every revision.) So they get a first draft and then usually a copy of the final MS to read if they want to. But, I'll also say that my first drafts are usually fairly clean spelling/grammar-wise. Sometimes the plots are a mess, but the prose itself is not particularly difficult to read. When I was still in my early stages of writing and had issues with writing cleanly, I did not show folks first drafts because that would have been a waste of their time.
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  10. #10
    practical experience, FTW Justobuddies's Avatar
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    I will cherry pick selections for an alpha read. Mostly when I want people to read it, it's because I have an overarching question such as: "does this idea work?" or "Is the voice I'm using appropriate for the scene?"

    I used to let my spouse and family be my alpha readers, but I found as I got their feedback I was revising before the writing was done. Now I don't even like to write when other people can read it over my shoulder. I have gotten paranoid that I'll hear them make some kind of little noise when they catch a run on, or sentence fragment. Maybe that "huh interesting" means they just got to a huge world building info dump that I know will get cut, but exists because I, as the writer, need to know that information.

    I know myself, if an idea isn't in writing, it doesn't exist so my draft is full of bracketed notes to myself some of the following are in my WIPs:
    [Consider changing this character's gender]
    [Does MC need a love interest?]
    [Come up with song lyrics to a song about the forest]
    [Insert meaningful quote about the pointlessness of violence]
    [Need a common name for magical realms here]
    [Best Friend, needs name]

    I don't mind sharing the notes themselves, Some of these questions turn into threads on this forum. Someone reading the draft, they'll want to offer their thoughts on it, and suddenly it's a conversation topic about the entire direction of the story and becomes a collaboration. Not that there's anything wrong with collaborative work, just if I'm writing something there's a vision I have of what story I want to tell and a surprise collaboration may pull me away from it.
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  11. #11
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin RoseDG's Avatar
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    No, never. It would be like being naked in public, if you know what I mean.

  12. #12
    practical experience, FTW LJD's Avatar
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    I would never let someone read one of my first drafts. Usually I get the structure more or less right in the first draft, but on a line-to-line basis, the writing is ugly and would probably be very distracting. Unless I can dramatically improve the quality of my first drafts, I wouldn't show them to anyone, though I might bounce ideas off people, including my husband. He's never read anything I've written, but I do talk to him about my writing.

  13. #13
    Get a warrant Helix's Avatar
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    no no no no no no no no NO

    Never a first draft. My first draft is disjointed, full of threads that go nowhere, and constructed entirely of what I like to think of as literary scat singing, but is closer to the sort of scat that foxes leave behind.


  14. #14
    practical experience, FTW Morri's Avatar
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    I'm doing it right now, lol. I have no issues with it! I've discovered that having someone else who I know I will have to send something to actually ensures that I'll stick to a somewhat consistent writing schedule. I don't have any shame when it comes to the plot or whatever because it is a first draft, and there's going to be issues. I have an editing system for each chapter and I make it as clean as I can before sending it, because that's what works for me. Plus by critting my writing buddy's work, I'm getting valuable experience that I can apply to my own as well! Win-win situation

  15. #15
    practical experience, FTW Clovitide's Avatar
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    Always! I have this one friend and we swap stories all the time. His are usually in a closer finish than mine, but whatever. This was before I even edited most of my work. Now, though, I haven't had any beta readers and most of my stories have gone through a couple of drafts. But, I find it useful to have someone look over first drafts. Usually, most of the stuff I post to be critique are first drafts too.

  16. #16
    Always Be Writing abrowne's Avatar
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    Eep. Never. I don't let anyone see the book until I've taken it as far as I can without outside feedback. That's partly because I don't have that many betas/CPs, and I don't want to waste their fresh eyes before I can best use them, but also because it would freeze me up. It's hugely helpful for me, as I draft, to know with certainty that no one will be reading this version.

    THAT SAID: I have lots of friends who find it super useful to have a critique group that they can bring new chapters to, who can cheer them on, beg for new installments, and help them work out problems as they come up. So, if it works for you, that's great!

  17. #17
    practical experience, FTW travelgal's Avatar
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    No way. Even after several drafts there are plot holes and inconsistencies as big as a black hole. I'm excellent at confusing the reader, so at least a dozen drafts are done before sharing, and I still confuse the reader.
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  18. #18
    ....... Harlequin's Avatar
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    For a first book, I think it's important to write by yourself and finish almost in isolation. Opinions will vary!

    But after the first book all the rules are a bit different. You will find in indie communities that the first draft IS the book, more or less, in a number of cases; it gets written, sent to editor, sent to proofreader, sent out the door.

    I edit extensively as a I go, but increasingly find that after a couple of overall (start to finish) passes I'm happy for my critiquers to start looking at stuff. Like you I use my partner for the roughest and most polished drafts; he is required to read everything twice ;-)


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  19. #19
    Old Hand in the Biz Barbara R.'s Avatar
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    I would rather put my pages in a blender and add water than share a first draft with anyone! I mean, would you call someone into the bathroom to admire your production there? First drafts are what we produce in order to get to the good stuff. They're not meant to be read, and I think I would find it incredibly inhibiting if I knew they would be.

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  20. #20
    Derailed WriteMinded's Avatar
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    I don't see how someone reading my first draft could be at all helpful.

  21. #21
    practical experience, FTW GoSpeed's Avatar
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    I've had scenes from a current draft read live in Second Life (over voice chat). Hearing someone else read it and getting feedback from the audience has been very helpful to me. Sharing the entire draft is another thing. I typically do small revisions as I write then make two separate editing passes after the draft is done. THEN I send it to beta readers.
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  22. #22
    Write. Write. Writey Write Write. mrsmig's Avatar
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    No. I wouldn't ask anyone to taste a half-baked cake, either.
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  23. #23
    Write All The Words! Carrie in PA's Avatar
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    Absolutely not.
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  24. #24
    practical experience, FTW
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    Goodness, no. I even shred the pages when I'm done typing in the edits so no one can come across them by accident.

  25. #25
    People are not wearing enough hats JJ Litke's Avatar
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    I don't have anyone read during the first draft because I don't want to spend their first read on something that's not finished.

    I do get MrJJ to do a lot of first reads for me. As many things as he's picked at in my writing, he's never said I do a shit job of writing male POV (checks pants—yup, I'm still a woman). My approach is to write men as if they are human beings, and I guess it must be working out okay for me so far.
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