Fiction Writing Tips: Writing the First Draft

Now that you’ve completed your character and novel outlines let’s move on to the next step in the fiction writing process: writing the first draft. The first draft is not the perfect version. Instead, the first draft is where you let your mind run free. As you’re writing your first draft, here are a few things to consider:

Eliminate Distractions Around You

Before you begin writing your first draft, pick a quiet place — a place where you won’t be distracted by the things and people around you. Distractions consist of screaming kids, ringing phones and a rambling spouse. If you’re the only one there for your children and they have to be supervised, hire a babysitter for a few hours. Turn off the phone. Gently let your spouse know you’re going to another room to write on your novel and would appreciate no distractions; unless, of course, it’s a dire emergency.

Dialogue Keeps the Reader Entertained

Don’t bore your readers with paragraph after paragraph of description and details. If your novel is filled with details instead of lively conversation (aka, dialogue) between the characters, you’ll risk losing your readers. Include as much dialogue as you possibly can, but don’t over do it. Break up your dialogue with some description, action or other details so that your entire novel isn’t just dialogue.

While writing your dialogue, keep your characters realistic. Listen to people around you talk. Everyone has their own way of speaking. For example, teenagers use words like awesome, cool, rock on, whatever and etc., and not everyone speaks perfect grammar. Keep your dialogue real and your characters will come to life on page.

Stay Consistent With Voice, Person and Tense

Decide what voice, person (first, second or third) and tense (past or present) you’ll be writing in and stick to it throughout your entire fiction novel.

Write Without Editing

Write, don’t edit! I’ve found that when I have the auto spell and grammar checker feature turned on in Microsoft Word, I tend to want to edit what it underlines. To keep myself from stopping to make those edits, I turn off the auto spell and grammar checker before I begin writing the first draft of my fiction novel.

Later, once you’ve written your entire fiction novel, you can worry about spelling, grammar, rewording, eliminating and etc. The only thing you really do when you stop to make changes is create distractions, which could lead to writer’s block.

Take Breaks

When the words don’t seem to be flowing anymore and you’re spending too much time thinking instead of writing, save your work and return to it the next day.

Once you’ve written the last word for your fiction novel, your first draft will be completed. After writing the first draft, then you can go back and edit for spelling and grammar. In fact, next week we’ll cover editing your first draft. To ensure that you don’t miss next week’s post, subscribe for free to receive updates via e-mail. When you subscribe for free updates, you’ll earn an entry into the Mentoring Session Contest. Have you already received an entry into the contest another way? No problem, you can still subscribe and earn another entry, which will increase your chances of winning the free mentoring session with me.

Photo courtesy of Lapideo
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