Tips to write a first draft of a first novel
‘How to get the damn thing completed’ is one of the biggest things newbie authors seem to be pondering over most of the time of their day, as I have known it myself. It sucks our souls, totally overwhelms us and fills our lives with seemingly eternal despair. But we brought it upon us ourselves, didn’t we? So the best way to be relieved of it is to get to “The End”, the fastest possible.
Here are some ways to do so.
- Know your story line first: Not knowing the story line is one of the greatest mistakes a newbie writer commits (something I’m guilty of committing too). They keep writing junky ‘useless’ stuff that in no angle has anything to contribute to the story thinking they are being funny. But know it, this only leads to their novel’s and their own demise (from excessive frustration). You should always have an outline of your story, if not then at least a very good idea of all the turnings your novel would be taking, and also of how it will ultimately wind up.
- Get a map: If it is a fictional setting you are using, get a map. It will be fun to draw as well as you’ll get to know more about your created world and characters.
- Write like hell: Yes, that is it, write like hell. Set yourself a daily word goal and don’t stop till you achieve it (though I strongly advice you against continuing once the goal is achieved). And don’t care for editing, because in a first draft quantity prides over quality. Editing can be done later and is for the subsequent drafts, but for now simply don’t unleash the editor that is in you. (The word goal should be between 100 words and 5000 words. Less-- your book never sees “The End”. More-- you die)
- Set yourself a deadline: Give yourself a deadline before which, you promise yourself, you “have” to finish your novel. Most people tend to work more efficiently when there is a deadline at hand.
- Don’t give up: Well, don’t give up. And be confident that you’ll get your task done and accomplish our dream of being a novelist.
The above tips greatly contributed in getting my own novel, a fantasy, The Witch’s Plot, completed. Hope you can get something out of them too.
All the best. J