Why writing a first draft is like performing stand-up with hecklers


Who’s that?


Who’s she?

The woman in the story. I don’t know. I haven’t named her yet.

How are we supposed to like her if she hasn’t got a name?

How do you know you’re supposed to like her? Maybe she’s a thief.

Is she going to be a thief?

Possibly. Maybe I want to save that detail as a surprise to the reader.

Readers don’t like surprises.

Um, “Marylyn…”

That’s a weird spelling.

“Alright. “Marilyn…”

No. Too Marilyn Monroe-ish.


You’ll need a male character who looks like Clark Gable.

I’m not writing a 1950s black-and-white movie.

Nice hyphens.

Look, I’ll call her George or Bill. It disguises her sexuality.

Oh, how au currant.

Could I just write something?!

Sure. Go head. We’ll wait.

Alright. “She banged her head…”


“George banged her head on the locked front door glass when she realized she had left her keys on the counter near the sink. She could see the bundle of keys through the glass.”

Why is the front door glass locked?


That’s what you said… “the locked front door glass.”

“George banged her head on the locked front door when she saw the keys inside on the counter near the kitchen sink.”

How did she see the keys. You took out the window.

It’s a small window. “She slipped off her shoes…”

What kind of shoes?

High heels.

What color?


How red?

“Her two-thousand dollar Italian high heels the color of the deepest roses of summer…”

They could be yellow roses …

“The color of deepest red roses of summer…”

Seems excessive.

It’s actually pointless. This is probably a mystery, not “Waiting for Godot,” and her shoes are just foot coverings, so I could just say at this point they were red, not symbols of a deeply damaged world dripping in the blood of a thousand generations.


May I continue?  “George knew that the window above the sink would be open.

She walked around the house. The damp, newly mown grass cooled her feet but  left them covered with clippings. The chair that was usually placed in the shaded corner of the house was missing. She found instead a small stump of a tree that had been cut down the previous summer….



I’m still here.


Oh, good. I’m excited.

“She slung her purse over her shoulder and dragged the stump to the window. It wobbled as she stood on it. She slipped the screen up to uncover the open window, then with her hands on the inside window sill she hoisted herself half way into the space. Her open blouse caught the handle of the mechanical window opener and she found herself half in the window and far enough off the stump that she could not boost herself up any more. She reached back for the long strap of her purse and dragged it off her arm. When she tried to throw it into the kitchen the strap grabbed the single tall sink faucet and turned on the water, the purse itself lodging against the handle of the spray hose. With water splashing her face, she wrenched her shoulders through the window ripping her blouse. The force of her effort propelled her toward the sink, but her hands were wet and she slipped forward to the floor, where she found herself face to face with the body of a man who had been stabbed to death.”

Does that cover it?”

Was the water hot or cold?


About michaelstephendaigle

I have been writing most of my life. I am the author of the award-winning Frank Nagler Mystery series. "The Swamps of Jersey (2014); "A Game Called Dead" (2016) -- a Runner-Up in the 2016 Shelf Unbound Indie Author Contest; and "The Weight of Living" (2017) -- First Place winner for Mysteries in the Royal Dragonfly Book Awards Contest.
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2 Responses to Why writing a first draft is like performing stand-up with hecklers

  1. Reblogged this on Imzadi Publishing and commented:
    This was so much fun to read!

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