I know how you’re feeling. You’re afraid to look at it. You’re afraid you won’t know how to fix it.
That draft. Yep, it’s a mess.
Plot holes, limp dialogue, caricatures instead of characters, and a shallow theme that plays like a bad soundtrack throughout the story.
This is impossible to fix, you think. You avoid it like it’s your snide mother-in-law, a Jehovah’s Witness at the door, or that colonoscopy you’re supposed to schedule.
Yes, your story could be bad. Maybe it sucks.
But is it beyond redemption?
No story is beyond redemption. “Drafts” (notice the word is plural) are called drafts for a reason. You will have multiple iterations of the same story. Accept it as part of the process. No one writes a perfect book the first time.
Instead of dreading your crude first draft, get excited about watching its evolution. Dig through your words and find the little pockets of goodness inside. Expand on them.
Stay curious. Ask your characters questions. Write down the millions of possibilities for them.
Read your draft over and over again (no matter how much it hurts) until something sparks against the flint of your mind. Sit quietly. Clear the inner badgering and follow your gut instincts.