The Mysteries of a First Draft

Ploughing on with my editing of Wickenham Court. Inspiration photo below.

Observations on my first draft include:-

  • Did I write this? I can’t remember half of it!
  • If it reduces me to gales of laughter, will it do the same for my reader? I hasten to add it isn’t a comedy!
  • Note to self: Don’t do blanket Find and Replace – I had put “Name” for one character, awaiting inspiration for his title – I now have lots of sentences such as ‘The mention of the Timothy of his dead wife was like throwing cold water over him.’ Timothy was of course the name I settled on for my formerly nameless character.
I will admit to feeling a little overwhelmed at present. Any tips for stitching together the patchwork of a first draft please?

By Morton S. Gray

Author of romantic suspense novels.


  1. I've had the same problem with find and replace – it can bring up all kinds of unexpected funnies! I think edits of the first draft are always daunting – focus on whether the story makes sense. Characters believable? Does teh plot work? I tend to look at structure, but everyone's different. Good luck!


  2. I would suggest finding someone else to read it through. They might be able to confirm what's working what's not. When they're laughing when they should be laughing.

    I felt the same with The Wedding Favour – still do! The bits that are supposed to be funny, I worry people won't get my sense of humour lol!

    I'm sure it's fine, and yes do be careful with the find and replace button. Very useful, but also very harmful too 😉 Might have to find 'Timothy' again, and check you've change his name where you wanted to 😉


  3. My method of moving from the first draft is extreme, to say the least – definitely not for everyone. I print out my first draft, and delete it from the computer entirely!

    Then I re-write from the draft, and automatically more detail, plot etc appears. I can double the length with this method.

    Like I said though, not for everyone.


  4. Flowerpot – Thank you. Story is where I am starting – I'm reading it all back to myself on my Kindle.

    Teresa – For now I'm enjoying the unexpected Timothys!!! Thanks for the thoughts.

    Analisa – How brave, but then I can see the appeal – hovers over delete button. I'll give this some serious thought. Mx


  5. I worked through mine in specific phases. First run through was to work out the massive plot holes I had fallen through. Second time through I worked on straightening the time line and on it went. I found concentrating on one issue at a time very helpful. I did get through a lot of paper keep printing them out though!


  6. Thanks for that Rebecca – I'm trying a similar approach rather than get bogged down trying to do everything at once. I'm using my Kindle so less paper used. Good luck with yours. Mx


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