The First Draft: How the Heck Do I Get There?

The First Draft: How the Heck Do I Get There?

Writing the first draft of your novel can seem like a daunting and even impossible task. I have good news though! Look at all the books out there. That is all the evidence you need to see it is possible. And if they can do it, you can too!

  1. Outline: I know I harp on this but seriously, figuring this out is the only reason I’m a published author right now. OK, not the only reason but definitely a big one. I was a pantser, hard core. Hated outlines with a fiery passion even. However, after failing NaNoWriMo’s and writing 80K words that literally went no where, I started making bullet points with how I was going to get from A to Z. Eventually I would start really outlining but even just a few bullet points to look at when you find yourself off the trail can be crucial to success in writing your first draft.
  2. Don’t edit: Editing is a wonderful and totally necessary thing. LATER. Don’t stop your progress because you know you missed some commas back there. When you have finished your first draft and let it sit for awhile, you can go in and add commas and take them away to your hearts content. But wait until you have a complete draft.
  3. Don’t Revise: Same deal. You might be in chapter 5 and decide that you want two character who were madly in love in chapter 2 to just meet. Well, make a note in the margin and keep moving. Do not go back and change the beginning yet. It can wait. Just don’t forget to make notes about plot changes. While they will likely come back to you when you reread the piece, they might not. Don’t take unnecessary risks with your work.
  4. Don’t quit: The number one reason writers don’t finish their novel? They give up, they stop making the time, they quit. It’s really sad when someone gives up on their dreams. Don’t be the guy in the bar who wishes he had only kept trying. Be the one who succeeded. Who finished their novel.

Do you have any tips for first time writers? What was the thing that helped you through your first draft?

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