There is no such thing as the sacrosanct first draft, which must under no circumstances be changed, for fear of losing something precious and irrecoverable. Writing is a process, and during that process any number of decisions, conscious or otherwise, are made before a single word is written. There’s no mystery about this. Your initial choices may be instinctive, but they are washed through filters of arrogance, influence, self-censorship, experience, fear, understanding, partiality…the list goes on.
Nothing we write is ‘pure.’ So let’s disabuse ourselves of that myth and get on with the difficult task of writing. Which means, essentially, rewriting.
— JANE HOLLAND.
Dr Sophie Duncan is Fellow in English at Christ Church, University of Oxford. She works regularly as a historical advisor and as a dramaturg for theatre, TV, radio and film. She likes theatre, detective fiction and cocktails.