In response to the lovely awards from Rosemary and Wendy a while ago, for which I am very grateful, thank you, I thought I'd post my seven things about writing a first draft. I am interested in the different ways writers approach this.
1. I type the first draft on my laptop. It can take a week or so for a longish short story.
2. I don't read through it each morning. I just look at the last hundred or so words to check the sense and spot any errors, then carry on.
3. I can't leave spelling or grammar mistakes for the second draft. I have to correct as I go.
I always give it a title, but this will probably change, maybe several times, before submitting the story.
I might also change the names of the characters if they don't feel right once I've become better acquainted.
The only thing that never changes is the theme.
4. I break off to carry out any research required. I can't go on unless I know I've incorporated all the facts.
5. I don't read it until it's essentially finished. I print it out and take it somewhere I can read it out loud and make corrections in the margin in red and green pen. By the end, the sheets of paper are smothered in notes and crossings-out and asterisks and footnotes. It can take ages and at the end there is more pen than print.
I have difficulty reading my scrawl, especially if I don't start the revisions straightaway. Sometimes it's a very simple word or two, but it can take an age to work out what it says. Yet when I have written myself a very cryptic message, hoping I'll understand myself when the time comes, I nearly always remember what I meant.
6. I transcribe all the changes onto the laptop, including further, spontaneous ones I might add to the ones already scribbled on the print-out.
7. The chances are high that by this stage, I've begun the first draft of another story.
How do other writers approach the first draft?