Giving The First Draft A Chance

rp_writing-2-300x240.jpgYour first draft needs faith.

I have been thinking about my first draft a lot recently. When I am not trying to start it, I am thinking about it – how I want the story to go, the characters and their backgrounds, the odd piece of description or dialogue that I think could work (most of the time I manage to write things down before they disappear out of my head forever. I have had things disappear and then I curse myself for not keeping a notebook nearby but that’s for another post.)

There are a few ways in which I have attempted to begin my story as I try to figure out where to begin. Should I start it with dialogue? Inner monologue? That’s the problem – you over think and then the false starts pile up and before you know it, you have 1,000 words of roughly the same scene. I end up going back to the beginning as I convince myself that what I am reading isn’t good enough. I worry that it’s nothing like the books I like to read – that the text is nothing like the stuff that gets published. However, that’s not a bad thing no matter how much I convince myself otherwise (which I try to do… a lot.)

I have heard that this lack of self-confidence and an attack of self-doubt is common.

If you are in the middle of a first draft or thinking about beginning one, you are a little too close to be the best judge. This idea is yours and you are going to be protective of it and want to do your best. Instead of worrying about the way it’s going, you should just write. Words I tell myself when I pick up my pen or poise my fingers over the keyboard. Words I can’t always seem to take notice of but they are true all the same.

The first draft is a precious thing but something that can be rough all at the same time. It just needs a chance to be written. It needs to exist in the first place so you can make it better. You can’t edit something that isn’t there. Now, I am off to disable my delete key. It’s not our friend. Not at this stage anyway.

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Laura
I’m Laura. I started Novel Kicks in 2009. I wanted a place to post my writing as well as give other writers like me the opportunity to do the same. There is also a monthly book club, a writing room which features writing prompts, book reviews, competitions, author interviews and guest posts.

I grew up by the sea (my favourite place in the world) and I currently live in Hampshire. I am married to Chris, have a cat named Buddy and I would love to be a writer. I’m trying to write the novel I’ve talked so much about writing if only I could stop pressing delete. I’ve loved writing since creative writing classes in primary school. I have always wanted to see my teacher Miss Sayers again and thank her for the encouragement. When not trying to write the novel or writing snippets of stories on anything I can get my hands on, I love reading, dancing like a loon and singing to myself very badly. My current obsession is Once Upon a Time and I would be happy to live with magic in the enchanted forest surrounded by all those wonderful stories provided that world also included Harry Potter. I love reading chick lit. contemporary fiction and novels with mystery.

One Response to Giving The First Draft A Chance

  • I agree, those first few steps are both important and difficult. Whenever I start a new project I work out exactly where the first scene should take place and which of my characters are there. Then I run it through my head like a movie. I usually find that dialogue comes first – it has in three of my four published novels although it just so happens that the book started that way because it suited the opening scene. I don’t think there are any hard and fast rules for this, you have to go with what you feel is best. You really need that first paragraph to kick start the whole thing and begin the journey. The farther away you get from the beginning, the more comfortable you’ll become with your characters and what is happening and everything will start to come together. Of course you can always go back and rewrite that opening scene once the first draft is complete. When I started my current WIP it was with a brief present day prologue. I then started to write the main story where it began, six years before. As I was writing I realised I didn’t like the prologue and would instead move it into the main body of the book. This meant the novel began six years ago and worked its way up to present day. However, if I had not written the prologue in the first place I might have spent a long time trying to work out how to begin! So nothing is set in stone, the most important thing is to get that book underway!

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