Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere. Start by getting something-anything-down on paper. A friend of mine says that the first draft is the down draft-you just get it down. The second draft is the up draft-you fix it up. You try to say what you have to say more accurately. And the third draft is the dental draft, where you check every tooth, to see if it's loose or cramped or decayed, or even, God help us, healthy.
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I am a technophile, so there is no such thing as a first draft. The first draft plunges on, and about a quarter of the way through it I realise I'm doing things wrong, so I start rewriting it. What you call the first draft becomes rather like a caterpillar; it is progressing fairly slowly, but there is movement up and down its whole length, the whole story is being changed. I call this draft zero, telling myself how the story is supposed to go.
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After finishing the first draft, I work for as long as it takes (for two or three weeks, most often) to rework that first draft on a computer. Usually that involves expansion: filling in and adding to, but trying not to lose the spontaneous, direct sound. I use that first draft as a touchstone to make sure everything else in that section has the same sound, the same tone and impression of spontaneity.
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It can take years. With the first draft, I just write everything. With the second draft, it becomes so depressing for me, because I realize that I was fooled into thinking I'd written the story. I hadn't-I had just typed for a long time. So then I have to carve out a story from the 25 or so pages. It's in there somewhere-but I have to find it. I'll then write a third, fourth, and fifth draft, and so on.
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Every day, almost as many men are killed at work as were killed during the average day in Vietnam. For men, there are, in essence, three male-only drafts: the draft of men to all the wars; the draft of Everyman to unpaid bodyguard; the draft of men to all the hazardous jobs or 'death professions.
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Allen Ginsberg instructs: "First thought, best thought." Oh, to have my every spontaneous thought count as poetry! No draft after draft like a draft horse. Clayton Eshleman, laughing, said, "'First thought best thought' is not 'First word best word ' Ginsberg does rewrite. I'm sure he does.
Maxine Hong Kingston
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Every first draft sucks, so when you have your favorite novel, and you're like, 'Wow, this is a masterpiece,' and then you write your first draft, and you're like, 'This is really bad,' and then you're like 'I can't do this because this is nowhere close.' When, in reality, the book you loved so much started out just as crappy.
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Draft resisters have had and should continue to have only normal difficulties immigrating [to Canada]. Probably any young American can get in if he is really determined, though all will need adequate information. ... The toughest problem a draft resister faces is not how to immigrate but whether he really wants to. And only you can answer that. For yourself. That's what Nuremberg was all about.
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Writing the first draft of a new story is incredibly difficult for me. I will happily do revisions, because once I can see the words on the page, I can go about ripping them up and moving scenes around. A blank page, though? Terrifying. I'm always angsty when I'm working my way through a first draft.
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The longer I write, the more important I believe it is to write the first draft as fast as possible. In drafting, I push myself so I am at the edge of discomfort...Later, it will be time for consideration and reconsideration, slow, careful revision and editing. But on the first draft I have to achieve velocity, just as you do if you want the bike to balance.
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The art of poetry consists in taking the poem through draft after draft, without losing its inspirational magic: he removes everything irrelevant or distracting, and tightens up what is left. Lazy poets never carry their early drafts far enough: some even believe that virtue lies in the original doodle scrawled on the back of an envelope.
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I was part of the draft resistance movement in L.A. where we did demonstrations at the draft centre and burned our cards and made a lot of trouble on campus. I had a student classification and they said that anybody who'd taken part in these demonstrations would be reclassified and drafted. And that's when I went to Canada.
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Affirmative action is a little like the professional football draft. The NFL awards its No. 1 draft choices to the lowest-ranked team in the league. It doesn't do this out of compassion or guilt. It's done for mutual survival. They understand that a league can only be as strong as its weakest team.
J. C. Watts
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To me the only real star of the movie is the writer. And I work with writers very closely, from outline to first draft and on to the seventh draft, whatever it takes. Then my job is to support the director to make the best movie we can. Some producers try to go past them, but my job is to support them.
Dino De Laurentiis
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Some writers find that they don't know their themes until they've finished the first draft (I am one). They then rewrite with an eye toward balancing on that tightrope: not too contrived, not too rambling; does what I'm saying about the world below me actually add up to anything? Other writers pay attention to these things as they write the first draft. Either way, an awareness of the macro and micro levels of theme can provide one more tool for thinking about what you should write, and how.
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I think a draft produces a better Army than the one we would have with all volunteers, because I think you get average Americans if you have a draft. And if it's an all-volunteer Army, you get people who join up because of some problem in their own lives. They don't have anything else to do, they don't have a job, or they can't find what they want to do, so they join the Army. And it doesn't produce the best Army.
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Our capacity to move forward as developing beings rests on a healthy relationship with the past. Psychotherapy, that widespread method for promoting mental health, relies heavily on memory and on the ability to retrieve and organize images and events from the personal pastIf we learn not only to tell our stories but to listen to what our stories tell us""to write the first draft and then return for the second draft""we are doing the work of memory.
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I work sometimes from outlines, which are immediately abandoned. Sometimes, when I'm trying to find the characters, I'll sketch things out a bit. Sometimes, outlines help me aim a little bit, but I tend to find it's usually much more interesting, especially with the first draft, to spew it onto the page. I used to get very nervous that, if I write this first rough draft and I die that night, whoever finds it might think that I thought it was good. For me, it's much more important to get some general shape onto the page and later take all the time I need to refine it, fix it, and rewrite it.
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I believe the way to write a good play is to convince yourself it is easy to do-then go ahead and do it with ease. Don't maul, don't suffer, don't groan till the first draft is finished. A play is a pheonix and it dies a thousand deaths. Usually at night. In the morning it springs up again from its ashes and crows like a happy rooster. It is never as bad as you think, it is never as good. It is somewhere in between, and success or failure depends on which end of your emotional gamut concerning its value it approaches more closely. But it is much more likely to be good if you think it is wonderful while you are writing the first draft. An artist must believe in himself. Your belief is contagious. Others may say he is vain, but they are affected.
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One cannot judge in advance whether or not the idea of the story is worthwhile because until one has finished writing the story one does not know for sure what the idea is; and one cannot judge the style of a story on the basis of a first draft, because in a first draft the style of the finished story does not yet exist.
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Recent discoveries in developmental psychology and other behavioral disciplines have shown that babies are born with a 'first draft' of a moral mind. Among others, brain scientist, Gary Marcus, has described this moral understanding as 'already defined and organized before experience.' Evolutionary psychologist, Jonathan Haidt, describes this first draft of the moral mind as consisting of five primary values. Modern cross-cultural anthropologists point to these same five primary values as the foundation of all cultures, currently and historically, and 21st century ethologists suggest the same values apply to most if not all species.
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