Here is the first sentence of the first draft of the manuscript that would become The Confessions of Adam:
It was the smell. Looking back now, it is my first memory.
Not an altogether great opening sentence for a novel, is it? It’s OK, we can admit it. It’s a poor opening sentence, maybe even a bad one. And this is exactly what you want for a first sentence of a first draft. This is where every story starts, with bad writing. This is critical. You can improve on bad writing, but you can’t improve on a blank page.
The first draft of The Confessions of Adam didn’t include Oren. Oren was yet to be discovered. The first draft was all Adam all the time, in first-person, simply telling the reader his story.
This first sentence was written on 10 January 2005. Over the next ten years each draft of the novel was rewritten, the previous draft printed out, hand-edited, and rekeyed onto a blank page. What you read today is the result of 8 full drafts and a thorough edit of 3 more proof copies.
Writing The Confessions of Adam was a difficult but constant delight.