New writers have a lot of questions about how to develop their skills as a writer. Many of them, however, have not finished their first draft. Developing your skills is really a task for second draft and beyond. First draft is all about getting something on the page.
FIRST DRAFT REQUIREMENTS:
This is a tongue-and-cheek list, but I hope it gets my point across. In the words of Hemingway, "The first draft of anything is shit." If you write a sentence and think, "Holy crap, that is the worst sentence written by anyone. EVER." Follow that thought up with, "So I'll fix it later," and let it be. It doesn't mean you're a bad writer, and it doesn't mean your story sucks. It means it's in an early stage of development. Keep writing, and keep moving forward. Everything can be fixed in later drafts.
- Stale Characters
- Confusing Plot with lots of holes
- Stilted dialogue
- Minimal thematic material
- Infodumps, especially in the first few chapters.
- A lot of telling instead of showing
- Repetitive redundancy, where you describe the same thing twice or more
- Repetitive use of the same unusual word
- Excessively using adverbs
By simply writing, you are naturally improving your writing skills. There are so many difficulties you encounter in your first draft that it's like doing an obstacle course. You don't need to climb that rope wall with style, you just need to climb. In doing so, you will develop strength and endurance.
This is the best advice that I can give you regarding your first draft:
Sprint To The Finish.
Treat it like an obstacle course and get the best time you can.
Completing a first draft of a novel is an important milestone for a writer. Before, it was all in your mind or written out in jumbled notes, but now you have a complete version. Your story is finally outside of you. It's tangible. Even though it probably sucks, it is now clearer than it ever was in your head, and what needs to be improved becomes obvious to you. Now you can begin to develop your writing skills.
I remember when I finished my frist draft. I stayed up so late that my dad was getting ready for work. And even though my writing was so atrocious that I vowed to never show a word to anyone, I felt a great sense of accomplishment. I had learned so much about crafting a story along the way that I was at least twice the writer I was when I began.
So if you are writing your first draft and have questions about writing, Sprint To The Finish of your story, and you may answer your own questions.
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