Monday, September 10, 2012

Help! How Do I Write a First Draft?

By Julie Daines

So, I've written three complete novels. One to be published late next year.

I just finished my third a week or two ago.

And now, as I stare at a blank Scrivener document, I can't remember how to write something new.

Oh sure, I have lots of stories percolating in my brain. I don't have writer's block per se.

I just can't remember how to get the ball rolling.

So I need your advice.

What are your tips and trade secrets to spewing out that first draft? Do you outline? Do you wing it? Do you write without chapter divisions? Do you write in scenes? Where do you go to generate plot ideas? What is your one, fail-proof step that helps you get the story flowing?

Please feel free to elaborate!


Scott said...

After you've been deep in a project and heavily into revising, that blank screen is scary. When I started my current project, I decided against chapters and went by scenes. I've more or less held off revising until after I finish a draft, although I've done some. But first drafts are tough because what ends up on the page never quite matches the brilliance of that vague idea in my head.

Michelle said...

Can't wait to read the third book! Good luck starting a new one.

Taffy said...

Just type and type and type and don't think. Garbage will come out, clearing the way for the beginning of your next awesome book.

Yamile said...

Wait until November ;-)

Unknown said...

I agree with Taffy. However once the garbage is cleared, I need to start organizing my thoughts. A spiral notebook that accompanies each project works well. The time I spend with here more than comes back when I pull out the keyboard. One thing that helps me is to look at agendas. Of course the MC has one as does the antagonist. But even a lesser character has an agenda that affects the MC. I list the agenda for each important character in side by side columns. As one character acts, the agenda for others may shift and this forces further reaction, listed down the columns. It helps give direction to the whole piece.

Julie Daines said...

This is all great advice--thanks!

@ Scott, In my newest book I've been writing in scenes. Just to try something new. We'll see how it goes.

@ Michelle, I should have something ready for you to read in a few months.

@ Taffy, I usually start with a lot of garbage. But every time I start a new project, I forget how much comes to me while I'm writing. I keep expecting to know all the answers before I start.

@ Yamile, I'm already outlining a bit for something new for November!!

@ Bruce, I too have a notebook that goes along with each manuscript! I couldn't write without it!