When I write down a new story idea, it starts off pretty basic. I plot A to B to C, then sit back and think that I have the next bestseller at my fingertips. But in reality, if anyone ever read this first draft they'd think I was barely literate. The problem, I've determined, is that I see the story in my head like a movie reel and think that everyone else sees it that way too, regardless of how much (or how little) detail I give them.
When I used to record song demos, it was the same way. I'd lay down a new track with a clean vocal and acoustic guitar and then play it for people who were less than impressed at the simplicity of the song. Where were the drums, bass, and guitar solo? It took me a long time to understand that they couldn't hear the harmonies and orchestration that I heard in my head.
I know it's a weird disconnect to think that people see and hear what I do, but this is how my mind works. So for me, writing is a constant challenge of pushing myself to layer more and more details into the paragraphs to create a compelling read.
Now when I write, I tell myself that there is development work left to do on the manuscript, regardless of how excited I am about the story. I was recently reminded that the typical book goes through about 20 edits, so if that's true then how could I be anywhere remotely near the finish line on the first few drafts. Same thing's true for writing songs, and I can only imagine that screenplays are part of the same club, too.
Building an emotional connection with the reader should be the top priority of a writer. An author can't just lay down the basic threads of a story and rely on the reader's imagination to always fill in the blanks. He has to create a well-woven narrative full of joyful and terrifying moments, interesting and intimate characters, and settings that take us far away from the stresses of our own busy lives.
My goal for my first book, STUCK, is to have it read like 800 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets!