Writers tend to write differently. Some come up with an idea and immediately start writing their story. This is their first draft. Others, like me, tend to plot it out first. But is this considered a first draft? Does it matter how much is plotted? For example, one writer might sketch out the chapters of a novel on 3x5 cards - a few sentences, maybe a paragraph, on each card - simply to get the writing flowing. Others like to write out a page (or sometimes much more) on each chapter before starting the actual writing process. I tend to write this way - a notebook or more is filled before I begin putting pen to paper on the traditional first draft. But is it a first draft? Or is that big outline actually considered the first draft? After all, when I'm done writing, the story is basically in place, meaning I don't change much of the structure in the editing process. Thanks to the outline I spent so much time on, the story is intact. (It still needs major editing, but that's basically for word and phrase choices and things like that, not the structure of the story itself.)
So what do you think? Is a big outline considered a first draft, or do you wait until the story is written before calling it a first draft? Chime in!