Last week you learned about how to begin your first draft, mainly in ways you could begin your story line. Did you find any helpful? Or did you discover a different approach not mentioned? Please share in the comments below. I think there are so many forms that there’s no one right way, but you may find the right way for you, or your story. Hopefully, you’ve chosen a starting point by now, even if it’s just your character staring in the mirror. It’s time to press play on your world and discover the world you’ve created.
Plotter, Panster, or Plantser, Does it Matter?
In the end, no. At some point, you’re going to have to take that leap of faith into the abyss of your world and reach into the wonders of your characters. Put more simply, you’ll need to write your first page in order to write your first draft. Whatever approach you’ve chosen, and the beginning you’ve identified, this is the point where you put words on the page.
Remember, these won’t be your finest work, especially if this is your first attempt at a novel, but enjoy the process. Do you have a scene or character in mind? Start there and write out the events. One thing I wish I would have done better with my first attempt at a novel is to keep a goal in mind. Whether that’s a story goal or character goal will depend on what brings you the most excitement. Once you get started, I can’t say how you’re going to change or how your story will develop, but let it flow from you.
To Muse or Not to Muse?
There are concepts that writers love to preach. Listening to their muse is one. For those new to the creative sphere, the muse is like a guide through, or source of, your inspiration. I explain because for the longest time I just pretended I knew what everyone was talking about until I actually figured it out. But waiting for your muse to arrive can come in spurts. I say take advantage of the inspiration when you have it, but create your own motivation when the muse leaves you. It’s not always easy, but being ready to implement a manufactured muse can make the difference in completing your first draft or not.
Use your excitement of the first draft to propel you into the beginning pages of your novel. Don’t worry about how clean, formulated, or “right” those words are. You’ll probably change them in the revision process. If you feel you’re running into a wall with the first approach, switch tactics and try again. One thing I’ll do in my word documents when I’m drafting ideas is type “No, try again.” on a new line every time I think I’m taking a wrong approach to the story. Then move that previous information to a file dedicated to the revisions of your stories.
It doesn’t matter your approach, but it’s time to write your first draft. How you approach it and keep writing every day will depend on you. Next week I’ll go over some ways to manufacture your own muse when the writing gets hard. For the remainder of the week, work on your first draft and check in with us next week. Or you can come back to this post and add a comment on how far you are in your WIP (Work In Progress). I’d love to hear how everyone’s doing in their projects.
Keep writing, keep learning, and stay fresh, my nugs.
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5 thoughts on “Writing Your First Draft”
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Good stuff here Kenneth, appreciate the commentary. I’ve always enjoyed writing and I’m trying to make more time for it of late. I could definitely relate to the lightning bolt inspiration of the muse. About two years ago, what I thought sounded like an excellent opening line to a novel came to me while I was in the shower. I had no plot, no characters flushed out, but I knew that I loved that line and wanted to use it as a springboard to a story. I quickly toweled off, opened the laptop and got cranking on my keyboard just to make sure I didn’t lose those fleeting thoughts. Before I knew it, I had a couple of solid paragraphs and some characters developed seemingly out of thin air.
I’m by no means a professional writer, but I knew I tapped into something there that probably wouldn’t haven’t happened if I tried to force it. You have to capitalize on those random lightning bolts when they hit you! Two years later and I’m still adding to that story in drips and drabs as I have the time, but I’m hoping to begin releasing some of it in segments on my blog soon. Keep up the good work here!
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Thank you, and thank you for the awesome comment! Those are some of the most exciting moments, and it’s even better that you acted on it right away. No need to be a professional writer to recognize those moments, though you may not know what they are at first. That’s awesome your nearing that point and I hope to see them soon. I’ll watch for them. Thank you again!
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Really great insites! I appreciate your knowledge and experience you have shared.
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