Book Writing 101: The First Draft

You’ve probably written an outline of your story, but now it’s time to get on with writing your book. The following tips will help keep you on track.

1. Know the ending first
Before you can piece together your first draft, you should have a good idea of how the book will end. Does someone die, get married, or move away? Of course, this should also be included in the outline, but defined further in your first draft. This step will save you from major re-writes and a lot of aggravation later.

2. Take the scenic route
Think of your outline as a road map of your book. It gives you directions from point A to point B. The first draft, however, takes the story off road and onto the scenic route. The storyline may take an unexpected turn. You’re adding detail and developing the plot. You might even lose a character on the way, or pick up a new one. This is where writing becomes enjoyable.

3. Refine your characters
The outline is only a brief description of your main characters, while the first draft actually brings them to life. Each character should have their own way of speaking and acting so that a reader knows who it is without you having to tell them.

4. The dreaded edits
Your first draft will probably undergo the most editing. It’s difficult to have one (or more) of your favorite scenes chopped because it slows down the story. For that reason, it’s best not to let others read it until it’s gone through a couple of edits.

5. Stick to “why”
Before an event is going to happen in your story, ask yourself, “why?”

Why did the character do what they did? Showing “why” lets the reader into the mind of the character. As in real life, we see what happened, yet wonder why it happened. Make it clear to your reader.