... is the story you tell yourself.
I wish my first drafts came out polished and ready-to-submit for publication. They don't. Writing and editing are two different processes. You write with your right brain and edit with your left brain. Loosely speaking, your right brain controls art and creativity and your left brain controls academia and logic. I work together, with both sides of my brain, to produce a polished, ready-to-submit manuscript. It just doesn't happen on the first pass. Or even the second.
The first draft is the story you tell yourself. It will be as rough and unpolished as it needs to be. The reason I write is because I have a story (or stories) to tell. But I tell myself first.
I'm working on Amelie and Niall's story right now. You may remember them as Kurtis Warde's parents, characters I introduced in A Wizard's Choice, The Magicals Series Book #2. In order to protect her infant son from her deranged mother Helene, Amelie left him with his father Niall and went into hiding. We learned in Book #2 that Niall had also gone away and Kurtis was raised by his paternal grandfather Waldor. This storyline raised many questions for me. How did Amelie feel about giving up her baby? What made Niall leave? What happened to Amelie and Niall during the thirty years they were away? Those answers and more will be magically revealed to me during the writing process. It all begins with the first draft.
You can't edit a blank page. A blank page—although intimidating—represents opportunity. Opportunity for me to tell you the story; a story that we both instinctively need to hear.