You are awesome.
You are the wittiest, sexiest, tear-jerking-ist, cleverist, page-turning-ist, dirtiest, writer in the world.
But you are not the story
and first drafts are always terrible
because the road to hell is paved with adverbs, and your prose is on fire!
Your poetry should be burned.
Your internal rhyme is beautiful, your command of language is superior and you are the worst writer in history.
But second drafts are self-conscious
Your characters are alive and difficult and your dialogue tags are over used, full of adverbs and badly punctuated.
But the story breathes.
You have given it life.
You are a god.
Your poetry will unite the world. It will spark revolutions and teenagers will read you in classes.
Or, better still
at night and in secret.
Third drafts are pretentious
and your novel is self-indulgent drivel.
Your dialogue flows, your descriptions are musical, your metaphors are deep and your action is painfully dull.
The opinion of a reader is always valuable
and, though sandwiches are nice
brutal honesty is better.
But never make changes you are uncomfortable with
and don’t censor yourself
because the opinions of some readers are just stupid.
Never take critique personally.
You are not the story.
You are its god.
But fourth drafts lose the magic
and the insecurity train is fuelled by fatigue
and your mood is inconsistent
and a sex scene should be personal.
If you don't enjoy it, nobody else will.
Fifth drafts remind you of your awesomeness
and there is nothing like the joy of discovering a joke you had forgotten writing.
Good writing is invisible
and the key to a successful fight scene is reaction
but the purple stage coach of arrogance is also powered by fatigue, and there is nothing so unpleasant as realising the joke you were so proud of isn't actually funny.
The bitchier the comments, the more they are worth
but some readers are just stupid.
Of course, there are no rules
but always consider changes, no matter how uncomfortable they make you or how rudely they are suggested
and never force a character to follow a plot
follow the character instead.
You are a god.
Give your creations free will
and tear down Babel.
Misunderstanding is the essence of conflict
Read your work aloud - to yourself, to the cat, to your family, to your friends, to microphones, to your readers, your fans, the world.
Tell your stories
or send your words through the internet and smile when they make strangers laugh, cry, choke on their coffee and beg for more.
But final drafts are never final.
and you will spot the typo three seconds after you hit 'send'.