I'm closing in on the first draft of Course Corrections, which is nice. Personally, I define the "first draft" as "worthy of showing to another human being". But of course there are as many definitions of first draft as there are writers.
For me, something worthy of being shown to somebody else has to get a minimum of an "okay" from my inner perfectionist. Yes, I have an inner perfectionist -- those who have met me or who've seen my house are ROFLing right now. Try not to hurt yourselves, please...
I like to think my "okay" criteria are fairly rigorous, but what do I know about forests -- can't see anything with all these trees in here. I know I have a decent grip of grammar and paragraph structure. Evidence has led me to believe my dialogue is quite readable. That's about all I can comfortably say.
I'll be sending it out to beta readers soon (I have three! yay!) and I'm sure everybody here will know what I mean when I say there are some butterflies associated with that. Feedback is what I want. I practically crave it. Positive and negative. Couldn't tell you which I want more -- ego strokes or a good flogging.
First draft, for me, indicates a fairly cohesive, readable manuscript. If I haven't gotten to the place where I'd put "the end" yet, it's still in progress. Not yet fully drafted. And even if I have written "the end" that doesn't mean it's fully drafted yet. I put down Course Corrections to work on a short story and came back to add some parts that I absolutely know must be in there.
Then I'll be at the point where I need someone else to tell me what it needs.
Maybe that's a more accurate definition of first draft: it has everything I know it needs.
How do you define "first draft"?