As you enter the initial phase of rewriting your first draft, it’s important that you resist the often times compelling urge to share your work with others. That day will come soon enough. Now more than ever as you proceed with this first examination of the draft, you still need to protect that private relationship between you and your script. It’s your impressions at this point that are the most important. Your reactions. Your ideas for changes. I realize that the urge to share, to get the opinions of respected, trusted friends can be almost overpowering at this point. You want to know how others respond, what they think, what they understand and don’t understand.
My plea is: be patient. Just keep thinking you first owe it to yourself and your script to go back through it “privately” at least one time. It’s crucial you become as confident and convinced as possible about what’s on those pages before soliciting reactions from others. Believe me, the process changes radically and irrevocably as soon as you’ve exposed your “child” to the world. This is your last opportunity to get it right as you see it. Once you’ve let even one other person into the process, you can’t retrieve what you had before.
Imagine, for example, you’ve written a first draft of a play or screenplay filled with characters you’re convinced are all unique and original creations with zero links to your own real life experience. You’re excited by this as you should be. And proud. And you’re dying for just a little feedback. So in spite of your better judgement you can’t resist sharing the draft with your closest and most trusted friend. And the first words out of the friend’s mouth after reading your new creation is something like, “Wow, I loved it, but I never knew you felt that way about your father.”
Your head immediately starts spinning out of control. “My father? What? My father isn’t a part of this story. No way.” But of course the “damage” has been done. Suddenly you can’t approach your script the same ever again. That outside reaction is now and forever part of the mix as you go back into the draft. You’re now looking for something that wasn’t there before. And all bets are off in terms of how you’re able to approach your story from here on out.
My point is that there’s a time for sharing your new work. It’s all part of the process of writing. But be careful that you don’t release it too soon. Cherish your private relationship with your script as long as you can, resist that early urge to share it with others, and work at getting it as close as you possibly can to what your private vision is for the material before handing it over for the first time.