I had a ridiculous dream about a month ago. There was a clear beginning and middle. No ending. I have no idea how the story ends. But when I woke up that morning, I couldn’t shake the start of the story no matter what I did. So I sat down that evening and wrote it out. There were no names, just faces, and angst (because there’s always angst in my stories) and romance (because, obviously).
Since then, I’ve plotted out the ending my dreaming didn’t give me. I’ve given the faces names. I’ve learned it’s not nearly as angsty as my subconscious was trying to make it. I’ve actually written the phrase: “What happens when these two hot tempers clash amid bikers, bookkeepers, and the beach?” I feel as if I should be hanging my head in shame over that one.
I’ve already had to go back and retcon a lot of the things I initially plotted out. For example, in my first outline, the main love interest was the older brother of my Main Character’s best friend. He is not. He is so not. Then it turned out (on my third attempt at plotting), her Uncle is not actually her Uncle, but her (deceased) father’s best friend and the family lawyer (which matters because there’s a will involved – the reading of the will is what starts the… hijinks). And then, once I began trying to write the third iteration, my MC shut her mouth and wanted nothing to do with any of the characters I had spent two weeks agonizing over. That was another hurdle.
But then, as if the clouds were parting after a hurricane (I do live in South Carolina, after all), not a single one of my characters – non-uncles, non-brothers and all – would shut up. I’ve since been average 2,500 words a day on the first draft. My two main characters have already had their first, disastrous meeting. He is already infuriated to find that he thinks she’s cute. She is wildly annoyed that he is so good looking. It’s headed in the right direction.
All of this is to say, before I even got to start writing the first draft (the first!), I had essentially written and read the damned thing three times (at least)! Don’t let plot holes or stubbornness (yours or your characters) get in the way of just getting the words down. Because as it goes, a crappy first draft is better than an unwritten one.