First drafts

“We have to approach the first draft of a short story entirely differently from how we work on any of the subsequent drafts. This is the draft in which we do no assessing and no organizing because we are inventing. We are still generating, not judging. In the first draft, we get to be like people in journal courses: we simply write.

It is difficult to understand why anyone should mindlessly write when so many experts have taught us so many techniques for smartening up short stories. It all has to do with the idea that the short story is made of two psychological elements: the story we set down to work on, and the mysterious additions which will join that story (radically change it, as often as not). These mysterious additions will join only if the author writes without any harassment by the critical faculty. We must waive all memories of discussions of authors’ techniques.”
– Carol Bly