Going through your first draft can be a daunting process. However with proper pre-writing and planning in place you are ready to sail through the scenes of your first rough draft.
For some writers this might be your first step in the writing process, though I would highly encourage you to go back to my post here where I talk about planning and pre-writing, it can save you a lot of time and heartache in this drafting stage.
Note: For some writers the extensive amounts of planning we covered in the previous step is a huge turn off for their creativity, so they may opt to skip straight to this step, though I am an advocate for planning, only do as much as you need to for your situation/personality, writing style and project. It is completely acceptable to start here in the drafting phase.
After you have a solid outline, several well-crafted character profiles, and a handful of notes on your worlds and societies, you are now in the perfect position to start writing your first draft.
For your first draft you are basically telling the story to yourself so don’t get to caught up in the details, just write. When you get stuck refer back to your outline and pick up where your story should be at for the point you are currently struggling with.
It is more than okay to skip around and write the ending first and the beginning last or how ever else it comes out easiest for you. This stage should ideally go fast and furiously. Beware of spending too much time here for it could lead you down a path of discouragement and self-doubt.
For some writers the only way is to write from start to finish, and I am one of those people. There are no hard and fast rules at this point, or really at all. That’s one of the major themes of this series on the writing process, to give a structural view of this journey. However when I do end up writing my projects out of order I have always had to go back and rewrite too much and it wastes a lot of time in my experience.
Although as with everything I write, I do make exceptions. If, for example, I think a chapter needs to be broken into two or even three chapters, then I am not afraid to make accommodations in my outline for that. I might start writing the next chapter in my outline and think that there isn’t enough backstory for what I am trying to write. As I always try to avoid leaving huge information dumps in any chapter, and ultimately a mess to untangle later, I will go back and add in what is needed, but I rarely skip forward in my projects to write something ahead of what I have already done.
Maybe this says something about the way in which my brain likes to process information. Thus it might be different for you. Your writing process is impacted by so many things.I am fascinated by this and other psychological analytical findings of my own ways of thinking, as well as others. This may be a theme I want explore in a series of later posts, so leave a comment if you would be interested in reading some personal research essays into those topics.
Different people have different techniques in this stage. As with all the other stages, there are those that will write the first draft from start to finish the whole way through without ever looking back until later in the drafting or revising steps of their writing process.
Some writers will schedule out their writing days in a way that lets their creative brain rest, as they go back every so often to edit lightly on precious areas. Others still will say not to do this under the advice of if you edit while you write the first draft you will never finish. This truly up to each individual.
By now you might start to sense how a lot of writing advice can contradict itself, and nearly all advice will go in one way or another against the grain of at least one other piece of advice.
There are those still that will skip all around and gracefully weave everything together at some point before the end of it all. (These writers are like magical wizards to me, and I have never been able to do this without leaving large gaping plot holes that end up taking me more time to go back and fix than just going in order, but if you are one of those more power to you cause gosh I couldn’t do it that way.)
It can and will take you as long to revise and edit your book as it did for you to write your first draft, which is why it is so important to just get everything out and on its way with the first draft. There will be many other drafts to come. In the big picture don’t worry too much at this point about the details or the quality of your writing.Thursday we will be covering some tips and tactics over the art of revision, as well as discussing the main differences between revising and editing.
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