My critique group and I love sharing first drafts. It gives us a chance to sample the unexplored possibilities of each other’s characters and quite often leads to a more exciting character arc or storyline. Think of FIRST DRAFTS as your unmined claim and you are seeking the gold within your words.
Keep in mind that 4 D’s for FIRST DRAFTS are for:
1. Discovering details.
2. Describing characters
3. Developing scenes
4. Demonstrating arcs.
Get the story down on paper in the FIRST DRAFT. There’s always room to perfect style later.
Your first writing is raw and true. Don’t be so quick to polish it before the story ends. The story comes first. The editing comes second.
FIRST DRAFTS are just that—First, and they are filled with plot holes and inconsistencies, but once the story is down with a beginning, middle and end, it can be edited to perfection.
It isn’t about writing something publishable. It’s about getting the story down on paper. It’s a step in the process, not the process itself.
Your outline (if you outline at all) is just a blueprint to building your story, a guide, a safety net to keep you from veering off in a totally different direction, however if a character insists on turning right when you want to turn left, follow them to the end of the turn and see if they have a better idea than you.
You can always turn back if it doesn’t work out. But never delete it.
I save my unused writing in a folder titled “Snippets of ____.” Fill in the blank with the working title of your novel. You might be able to mine a small golden nugget from there in a later draft.
Action? Too many stories start with ACTION.
Fights. Wars. Explosions. But the reader has no idea who the main character is. My advice is not to start with action unless you identify the main character before the action starts.
Dialogue? Who is talking? If the main character isn’t firmly planted in the reader’s mind, dialogue is NOT the place to start. It becomes an exercise in talking heads.
Setting? Yes, we need to know whether we are in the jungle or on top of a mountain, but we don’t need every nuance of every leaf or the colors of the sunset. Give us a simple setting, but again, make sure your main character is firmly planted in the scene.
Once you’ve got the story down, then weave in back-story, world-building, or character moments in-between plot elements. Just continue with the story.
Second drafts are for filling in the holes in the plot left in the first draft. It’ll be more effective to fill in those gaps with important information based on what you know happens, because you’ve already visited the end of the story.
When in doubt, just continue with the story.
Write the first draft as simply as possible—start to finish. You’ll end up with a story that makes sense.
Then get ready to…
…plump the plot
…stretch the scenes
…and create depth in your characters
First draft is getting the story written.
Second drafts are for revision
Third drafts are for polishing.
So what are you waiting for? Get writing……
Next up in the Author’s A, B, C’s is……..ENDINGS!