Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Watcha Say Wednesday: First Draft

I am in the happy newlywed stage with my first draft. We hold hands when we go out in public. I want to spend every free minute together. I think about it all the time. Aww! We’re in love.
So, it got me thinking about you guys. Why? Well, cause I love you too. But I’m not holding your hand in public. If first draft gets wind of it, she’ll stop speaking to me for sure.
This week on Watcha Say Wednesday I want to know how you tackle a first draft.
Does your first draft read like an actual book, or does it resemble more of a splotchy outline? Do you start writing at “once upon a time” and end with “happily ever after”, or do you bounce all over the place?
Is there a certain philosophy or style of writing you follow? Or do you make it up as you go along?
Do you plan out the book before you ever begin -- complete with bios on all main characters? Or do you sit down and channel your muse, and fly by the seat of your pants?
Answer what speaks to you, and ignore the rest. But do tell – I’m quite curious.


  1. Auww, I'm in love too. It's wonderful phase isn't it? Just before we start picking fights with one another, long silences, and learning that the first draft leaves the toilet seat up in the middle of the night...

    My first drafts used to resemble the sketchy outline look, but I've gotten better at filling it out and striving to move from start to finish in a somewhat orderly form. That's not to say I don't jump around when I hit a roadblock, but I try not to do that too much. Excess jumping around leads to frustration when I do a read through to check the plot at various points and I keep falling into blank spaces that I skipped over when writing.

    I've tried the outline thing, but I prefer the pantser method. It tends to lead to better plot twists.

    Characters get their bios as I go along and get to know them. Usually by chapter three or so, I have a solid feel for them and some notes to refer back to.

  2. i'm a linear writer, so when my first draft is done, it's more or less a complete book with side plots etc. For revisions i need to work on adding conflict and action but typically that's about it. well and line edits of course.
    I think if i did a draft that was less than a complete novel, i would lose interest in the project before it was fully written

  3. That's such a cute analogy! I'm very thorough with my first drafts, so they read like a book, complete with beginning, middle, and end. BUT that doesn't mean that it's well-written. Going back and reading any first draft I've written makes me cringe.

    Good topic. :)

  4. I'm a total plotter. And when I write a first draft, I write from the beginning to the end! I just can't work anyother way! Have with your first draft!

  5. First draft reads like a book. A really crappy book. But it usually cleans up pretty well in revisions. Or at least I like to think so. :)

  6. Haha! I really enjoyed reading this. very funny. I'm a relentless planner I guess you could say. I don't attempt a single word of the first draft until I know exactly what's happening in every way.

  7. My first drafts definitely read like a book. I work in a linear fashion; jumping around gets me all worked up and bothered so there is a definite beginning, middle and end. If I get dialogue or plot ideas, I write them down in my writing journal and plug them in when the time's right. But other than that, it's straight through.

    Congratulations on your new "relationship"! I hope you don't start fighting too soon. ;o)

  8. I wrote my first draft in waves. I wrote chapter one, uploaded it to a writers workshop. Good thing too, I chose the wrong place to start so there was too much explanation. As I went I started writing more and more, and revising the outline as I went.

  9. I edited my first novel as I wrote. It was a lot of wasted time. I think it's hard to edit pieces before you know where the whole is going, particularly if you're a pantser as I am.

    With the 2nd book, I've done enough light editing it should read like a book, but I predict the revision process will go smoother because the flow is there, and I more or less had to add flow to my first mss - not an easy thing.

  10. Because I start with an end in mind, I'm kinda all over the place. I'll want something specific to happen, and many times write towards that outcome. Took me three chapters once to connect two incidents.

    See how well I avoid beginnings until the last possible moment :)

    I'm not very good at planning my stories out, so my first drafts are very rough. Fly by the seat of my pants is my style.

    This was a cool post. Very inventive. Lot of thought provoking questions. I hope your in-love phase last as long as you need it to. New ideas are such fickle things.


  11. PS: Did I e-mail you my short story yet?


  12. I write my first draft quickly, then let it set a bit. Then I go back and read, and edit, and cut, and smooth. Then, I start thinking about the characters and what they want, and I go and change major structural stuff. Then I wait...at this point, my draft and I have fallen on hard times and long silences come between us.