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Could a “Vomit Draft” Be a Terrible Idea?

A “vomit draft” is only worthwhile if you are emotionally prepared to write a radically different second draft.

This article originally appeared in Script Magazine. It is reprinted here with permission. To read the original article head to


If you’re a seasoned writer with many features and/or pilots scripts under your belt, you may tell newbies a “vomit draft” is a great idea, and a super useful writing tool.

You have the very best of intentions, passing along earned knowledge to help novice writers find the confidence to complete a first draft. Who can argue with that?


It’s not the intention. That’s entirely valid. And it’s not the “vomit draft” concept. That can be very helpful to some writers. But it doesn’t take into account human nature. Which means advice given with the purest of spirit may turn out to be a truly horrible choice.

First, a “vomit draft” is not as disgusting as it sounds. You put together a rough idea of what you want your screenplay or pilot to be and then dive in. Chuck in a bunch of stuff, don’t self-censor, or edit, just be one with the creative process. Create something imperfect, because you can always fix it later. Simple, stress-reducing, and awesome, right? Or a massive writing setback waiting to happen.

I spend my days working with writers who are not seasoned. But they found the time, passion, and self-discipline to “complete” a script or two. Congrats!

When you haven’t done that very often, the sense of accomplishment is ENORMOUS. Overcoming the mountain of insecurities and finding the time and commitment to actually finish a draft is a reason to celebrate. Especially when you weren’t quite sure you had it in you.

But all those natural, good feelings mean you are EXTREMELY unlikely to burn it to the ground. In fact, you secretly hope it’s perfect. You become very attached to that draft. It’s your baby. It’s the tangible result of all your hard work. It’s something to show those voices who said you’d never finish it - even if they only exist in your brain. And your Mom/spouse/best friend thinks it’s awesome.

Human nature, right? Of course you’ll be attached to it. So, the ‘you can always fix it later’ - quietly fades into the background.

Despite all the warm and fuzzies, in reality, the majority of scripts I see from novice writers have poor structure, an absence of theme/subtext, and thinly drawn characters.

To read the full article head to

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