Goals for the Year (Brian Katcher)

Image result for passed out drunk

So last month, I hit about the two thirds point in my work in progress. I realized that I had gotten to the point where I realized there were many problems with this draft, both in characterization, plotting, and overall structure. These issues could only be solved with a complete rewrite.

So the question remains: Should I gut through the last hundred pages, even though I know they'll be mostly unusable, or do I just barge ahead to the second draft?

Advantages of finishing the first draft:

* All writing helps strengthen your plot. Finishing could help me further flesh out the story, even if it's not, ultimately, useable.
* Most people I polled recommended this method.
* My writers' group wouldn't have to wait another year to read the ending.
* I promised myself a video game binge when I finished the first draft. If I cut this short, I'll have to wait months before I get a chance again.

Advantages of starting a new draft:

* What's the point of working on something flawed? Problems on page 10 affect page 300, and I'm wasting time working on issues that I'm going to abandon.
* I'm kind of chomping at the bit to get started on the rewrite. I've lost enthusiasm for the first draft.

So what do you think? When you've recognized the errors in Draft 1, do you keep writing, or abandon it for Draft 2? Let me know in the comments.


  1. Ugh. I have been there. I know it's the "right" thing to do to power through (and, I always have a little nagging voice in my head that starting again is a form of procrastination and perfectionism in disguise.) All of that said, I usually start again.

  2. Power through. Know you'll toss most of it anyway. So what? You set this course for some currently unknown reason, but it's likely slugging it out will reveal the nugget you're after. Can I ask: did you outline this story?

    1. I don't usually outline, but I know exactly how I want the book to end, which can't happen with my current draft. This is why I'm leaning to starting over.

    2. There has to be something in the current draft that applies, yes? I don't 'outline' per say, but do write to structure. Esp. as you know the ending, maybe that would help.

  3. I've had it happen on two books. On one I powered through; on the other I started over. (Twice.) Both ways sucked! lol. So, really, whatever you want to do is what you should do.

  4. Suck it up, start over, but promise yourself a day of mindless hack&slash around Groundhog Day as an incentive.

  5. You said you're chomping at the bit to rewrite. If I were you, then, I'd do that. Go where the energy is.

  6. I sometimes add a note like <> and then pick up the rest of the story AS IF I already made the changes I now know I need. But I only do this when I need to finish, to see how the new ending might hang together. Otherwise, I agree with Jennifer -- go where your energy is!


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