Getting the First Draft Down


Let It Go, Let it Flow – The only way to get the first Draft

Everyone has their own methods of writing a first draft and the great news is there is no wrong way! You can map out your chapters if you have a particular plot in mind or perhaps you are writing a non-fiction and have a list of exactly what you want to explore. Even with non-fiction you still need to let it flow.  Perhaps a particular topic or character just won’t stop talking, that’s ok, let it all out!

When I started to write I came up with four main characters that were telling their story. One of my characters changed her name three times! But Harry always stayed the same. Sometimes Stacey would talk away for days and Milla would stay quiet. There was no point mapping them out, I just let it flow.

Which Way Is Right to Write?

I didn’t start writing in chapters until I got to twenty thousand words. I hadn’t realised I was writing a book! I had four files; one for each character. I went through deciding where the story took a natural break.  I have to say this was a pretty painful process.  Luckily the story had carried all the characters in the same direction and they had been talking away even when I didn’t know who they were talking to!  For book two I was a bit more sensible, I knew how many words I wanted in each chapter, obviously you do have to be a little bit flexible but this was so much easier.

Perhaps you have started with an idea or a sentence and it all flows from there. Maybe you start at the end and work your way backwards. Have you started in the middle? It really doesn’t matter, that’s what the edit is all about, just concentrate on getting it out there first.

Feedback on Your First Draft

When I got to 30,000 words I decided to ask someone for some feedback. This is something I have now realised writers everywhere debate! Do you show other people your work and risk being shot down? Well, I felt I needed to know if it was any good.  Luckily I was given straight no nonsense remarks that were very useful. I adjusted a few things and felt encouraged to carry on. I have to say I didn’t let anyone else see it from that point on, I had been encouraged and told where to tighten up, that’s all I wanted to know.  If you are going to get someone to look at your first draft I would choose wisely.

When I had finished the manuscript I had around 80,000 words I edited this down to 67,000.  There could well be part of another book in that 13,000 words.

Joining a writers group was invaluable and I read a chapter a week.  It soon became obvious that I needed to get it copy edited if I was going to submit this to publishers and so that’s exactly what I did.  The good news was that I received encouragement; I was told it flowed well, they were drawn into the story and wanted to know more.  Bingo!

Good Luck & Get Writing.

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4 thoughts on “Getting the First Draft Down

  1. Thanks for this! I’ve hand written a story and am now in the process of typing it up and have already made heaps of changes. But I’m now at the stage you were at: wanting someone to read it and tell me if it’s any good!

    Any recommendations?

    • Wow hand written! I am in awe, good for you. I chose someone I knew would give me the truth, who I don’t see everyday. You can get ‘manuscript reviews’ from writing groups online but I haven’t heard great things about them. I would strongly recommend joining a writing group where you will receive encouragement and hopefully decent critique. I would happily read it and give you a Frank response, the best advice I have had has come from other writers. I would say tread carefully and don’t be put off if not everyone likes it, nobody can please everyone! Best of Luck and please let me know how you get on.

      • Thanks Frankie! Theres something about having it hand written that I love. The smell of the ink and the pages. It keeps pulling me forward!

        I haven’t managed to type it all up just yet, but I’m more than happy to send you what I have typed up and any comments or critiquing you think could benefit me I’m more than happy to hear! I will send it as soon as I can tomorrow (being 11pm here!) appreciate your help!

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