The Creative Writing Process: Writing The First Draft

Yesterday I mentioned outlining in the process of writing. The next step in the creative writing process would be, of course, writing the first draft.

Which, can be easy to some but isn’t so easy to others.

The Creative Writing Process Writing The First Draft | Creative Writing | Novel Writing | Writing Tips | RachelPoli.com

When it comes to writing the first draft.

Personally, I always found that writing the first draft was the easiest draft to write. You’re only telling yourself the story, after all. You and your characters are getting to know each other.

I think I find it the easiest because it’s the least stressful. You’re finding your own voice and tone of the story. You’re discovering the best way to convey the message and theme to your future readers.

There’s no need to worry too much about word count or even the structure of the novel. If you want to write notes to yourself in between scenes, go for it. If you don’t have a name for a person or place, use the first one that comes to your mind and bold it to remind yourself to change it later.

There’s a lot of flexibility when it comes to writing the first draft though I know some people who don’t see it that way. They get stressed out because they want to have less editing later.

I’ll admit, I don’t care too much for editing either (mostly because I just want the story to be done) but I appreciate it a lot more now than I used to. It’s satisfying in a way.

Honestly, this is why I usually use NaNoWriMo to write the first drafts of my novels. I get the skeleton down and I finish it in a timely manner so I can spend a good chunk of my time editing. Before NaNo it would take me a few months to write a first draft. Now I just get it out of the way and figure out the basic story line. It helps a lot, for me, anyway.

How do you typically go about writing the first draft? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Write What You Know (NaNoWriMo Prep Part 2)

Some wise person said to write what you know. Some people agree with this, some people don’t.

What about you? Do you agree with that?

Whether you do or not, I’m not going to tell you this:

Write what you know and write what you don’t know.

Easy enough, right?

Write What You Know NaNoWriMo 2016 Prep

Why should I write what I know?

You know a lot more than you think, that’s why.

You can draw in most life experiences into your stories. The best research would be your own memory. Look things up in your journal, if you have one and write in it frequently.

How can I write what I know?

Did you get a flat tire on your way to work the other day? Put your character in your shoes. How does getting that flat tire make your character feel? Is he angry because maybe he just got the car fixed? Is he frustrated or worried because now he’ll be late to work? Or maybe he’s heading out to pick up his date and he’s already nervous enough without the flat tire. Or maybe he feels indifferent because he’s in no rush and it is what it is. He can’t do anything about it other than fix it… Or call someone to come fix it for him.

What did you actually do when you got that flat tire? Is that how your character would act? Which character would be best to put in that situation? Play around with it, the possibilities are endless.

But wouldn’t I just be telling my life story as a memoir with a fictional character?

Yes and no.

If you write what you know, you’re creating a relatable situation for your characters and readers to have in common. Yet, you’re not explaining the true story word for word. You have to embellish a little. Fictionalize the situation.

Fine. But how do I do that?

Play the “What If?” game.

What if your character’s tire got flat because someone poked holes in it? What if some unknown force caused the flat tire? What if the mechanic comes down to help fix the tire and that person ends up being your character’s soul mate?

Maybe your character wants to avoid the situation altogether and goes back in time to avoid it. But then maybe he gets stuck back in time. Or maybe he makes it back without realizing he changed one important detail about his life accidentally.

You can twist and turn your own situation into something book-worthy. Turn your own situation into a plot, or into a bigger situation to help move your plot along.

There are a lot of twists and turns out there. There are a lot of, “should I have,” “could I have,” “would I have,” and “what if?” questions out there.

I mean, tell me there hasn’t been a situation in your life where you thought back on it wondering how you could have done things differently.

So, good advice or bad, you should still write what you know. Because your experience by getting fired at your job could be the beginning of your bestseller.

Of course, it’s always best to write what you don’t know as well. Just to mix things up a bit.

But there will be more on that tomorrow.

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