I was inspired for our latest stream by the recent YouTube video “How Star Wars Was Saved in the Edit.”
It explains how the first Star Wars movie as it was originally edited (which almost no one has ever seen) was an incomprehensible mess. It was only after going back through another round of editing that it turned into the masterpiece it’s seen as today.
You can watch it here:
This idea fascinates me. I love how essentially the film that we all know and love was hiding there, made out of the same raw footage of the original bad cut — it just had to be reorganized.
And the same idea works for writing. We all try so hard to get our first drafts done perfectly that sometimes they never get done at all. It’s easy to forget that they’re not supposed to be perfect: first drafts are just to get something onto the page. The perfection comes later, with editing. That’s when you turn the terrible stuff (like the original Star Wars cut) into better stuff.
So for the exercise during the stream, I wanted to try and turn some trash into treasure. To do this, I used the website Fanfic Maker, which automatically generates a horribly-written story for you. After getting input from the chat for what the story should be about, we got our terrible story and read it together.
It was… painfully bad. Here, you can read the beginning: