I wrote 4 books so far, 2 are published and are doing quite well. So what’s my drafting method?
The first draft is the hardest part of writing a novel. Too bad you have to do it first ;)
Trick 1: keep telling yourself that you can do this, because you can and nobody else can write YOUR story <3
Trick 3: never stop.
Writing a first draft is like creating the canvas for a painting. It’s plain if not messy, it might suck and be full of mistakes. Who cares? You will rewrite the whole thing many times over before anyone will read it. You are gathering the ingredients for a recipe. As you write the characters will take more and more defined personalities, some scenes will start to shine. Vomit it all out, you will decide what to keep later.
Trick 4: make it fun! Sometimes I get bored with a scene and just drop it half way through. I just jump to the next exciting scene I want to write about. That’s okay, I might go back to it later or likely I will take it out entirely ;)
Trick 5: Don’t worry about word counts, separating chapters and scenes. My draft are almost twice as long as the finished product, sometimes more. I’ll cut all the dull parts out and rewrite the good scenes. I will change chapters many times over.
Later as you revise you will work on balancing the structure of your story, polishing the plot, adding clues, deepening characters, adding descriptions, building moods, trimming dialogues.
My drafts are a mess, and that’s okay. They are full of typos, scenes are disjointed, some abandoned. I have a plethora of characters, most of them useless. Dialogues drag. There are few descriptions and sometimes there’s no sense of place at all. I’m drafting book 5 now and I can’t decide if I’ll use present or past tense, so it’s a terrifying jumble of both.
Now, you can look at your ugly creature (the first draft) and turn it into a masterpiece!
NOW YOU CAN WRITE A NOVEL, BUT YOU COULD NEVER DO THAT WITHOUT A (TERRIBLE) DRAFT!
1-Decide your tense and point of view and be consistent.
2-Reorder scenes to build up toward one (or more) climax, add clues, build up moods.
4-For every character you created ask yourself: do they move the story forward? Are they necessary? Do I really need 3 brothers or is one enough? 7 friends or 2? (This is the phase I call character massacre). Half of the characters in my drafts don’t make it to the novel.
6-Polish your language, replace adverbs with better verbs (crawl rather than walk slowly etc...), avoid words like “really, even, that” sometime they are necessary, but they tend to be overused. Choose one good adjective rather than three approximate ones. READ! You will learn great vocabulary.
8-Go back to chapter 1 and make it phenomenal. Make sure you start with a “hook”. Make the reader curious about a circumstance, a character, intrigue them.
Oh, look! You just wrote a novel! ^_^
I’m often asked if I use “outlines”. Sometimes. Sometimes I write them and don’t follow them. Whatever works!
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