First Draft Problems | Everything Wrong With My First Draft

In late July, after I finished my Camp NaNo project Project Dewey, I began to edit Project BAN. The first step of my editing process was rereading the entire novel and making notes on it. I finished the reread in about twelve days and made a scene by scene synopsis of my first draft. As expected, there are a lot of first draft problems I will need to work through. A LOT. 

1. The Main Character’s Voice is All Wrong

As I read through the story, which is in the first person, I was constantly asking myself: Would my MC actually say this? Most of the time the answer is: Absolutely not. The voice sounds a lot like me and nothing like her. I need to further develop her character to establish her history, background, and motivations to understand what type of voice would make sense: vocabulary choice, sense of humor, description, etc.

2. I Need to Change My Main Character’s Interests

I wanted one of her interests to be integral to her growth. But, I realized that the interest doesn’t make sense with her overall character development.

Also, this interest is largely removed from the story. It is obvious I didn’t like the interest from the start and tried to lazily tie it all together in the end. If I’m not interested in it, then why would anybody else be? 

3. The Story Is Predictable AF

The story at its core is a cross country road trip. At every single city my MCs visit, they go to a damn party. I can’t believe I didn’t see this when I was writing it! I need to rip out 80% of these parties and add other events. Even I was getting bored as hell reading through it. I need to reevaluate the story or raise the stakes or add more plot twists or something. This story needs a real kick in the pants.

4. I Need to Take a Hard Look At My Secondary Characters

There are a lot of my secondary characters I thoroughly enjoyed reading about. Others are a straight-up bore. I need to take a long look at why certain characters are in Project BAN and what role they play in the MC’s journey. If they are there just because they have got to fade out like an America’s Next Top Model contestant.

Dealing with the first draft problems of a novel is so overwhelming. Project BAN is a 65k word monster that needs a lot of work if it’s going to be any good. The thought of editing Project BAN seems so out of my reach that I’ve thought about taking the L and scrapping the whole thing. Instead, I’m trying to see Project BAN as a learning opportunity and take it one day at a time. Hopefully, someday in the future, I’ll be able to share a new and improved version of Project BAN with you all whether it takes three, four, or seventy-six drafts.

Have any editing wisdom to give me? What are yall’s first draft problems? Let me know in the comments!

If you would like to read more about my writing journey, I’d recommend my posts about my Camp NaNo project, music I listen to while writing, or my August writing goals!

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One thought on “First Draft Problems | Everything Wrong With My First Draft

  1. I have similar problems with one of my old stories that at the moment I’m editing. Though at the moment the main character isn’t like me that much, I feel as if she didn’t change at all at the end of the story. And none of the other characters are really developed.
    It was neat to read your post,
    -Quinley

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