1. Scribble
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    Scribble New Member

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    About this whole "Just write" thing...

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Scribble, May 4, 2008.

    Other writers often encourage new writers to just keep writing, despite how dreadful the material turns out. I'm "just writing" at novel at the moment -- Nothing serious, just a personal Nanowrimo kind of novel I'm working on.

    The thing is, with this 'just write' attitude, I don't feel that my style/voice is coming out, and I'm not *really* writing, but just writing a summary of my novel. Exactly how 'rough' has your first draft ever been?
     
  2. Silver1
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    Silver1 Member

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    That's actually how I always start my stories. :redface:

    I only write short stories, but my first draft is almost entirely what I call 'place holders', or a brief paragraph that indicates what goes on without any real emotion. You get some great stuff that way, because in this draft you're just figuring your characters out, seeing how they react, or if anything interesting happens.

    By the time I've finished my first draft, I've usually figured out what it is I want to say, which means I rewrite the whole thing. I may go over it several times, mostly with what I want reveal to the reader at each step, before I begin the actual editing process. To me, those steps are simply part of the first draft.
     
  3. mikespread1988
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    mikespread1988 Member

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    Agree with Silver very much. Don't expect what you write is going to be a complete masterpiece as soon as you start. It needs touching up eventually, and once you've written a few pages and familiarize yourself with your characters you'll have a good idea of what to change and what sounds better.
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    It's more important at the beginning to keep the momentum going than to agonize over the very best way to describe something. You want to lay down as much of your vision as possible while it is still fresh and exciting to you.
     
  5. kjetterman
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    kjetterman Member

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    I couldn't agree with this statement more! If you continue to write down all of your inspirational and exciting thoughts about the story, then you will more than likely remember them. This will help keep your excitement continuous!
     
  6. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    It's a lot easier to flesh out the very bare bones of a story, than get it down in the first place. For me, at least.
     
  7. Smithy
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    Smithy Senior Member

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    I seem like the exception here, as I always try and write out in full first time. Perhaps that's why I keep running into brick walls.
     
  8. SeaBreeze
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    SeaBreeze Banned

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    I was told that keep writing and edit later, no matter how crappy it seems to you. Make a few notes about what you want changed but keep going, otherwise you may not get anywhere. Of course, there are those lucky ones out there that can re-do a paragraph/chapter etc and not feel like they have to keep 'fixing' it! :D
     
  9. Gloom Kitty
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    Gloom Kitty Banned

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    I agree with cog, with a first draft the most important issue is to get it down as quick as you can while its still fresh
     
  10. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    There seems to be a very stable general consensus here, but I’ll add my voice anyway. Yes, just get it out and get it down on the paper or in the word processor. It’s a little like playing with Legos® for me (yes, I still play with Legos®.) The pieces you want are almost certainly not going to be on the top of the bucket. You have to spill them out on the rug so you can see what you have and then get the pieces you want to build your little Lego house, or boat, or spaceship. Sure there are a lot of extra pieces that don’t get used, but you had to spill them out too in order to get to just the right little blocks. Right?
     
  11. mikespread1988
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    mikespread1988 Member

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    That's perhaps one of the greatest ways of explaining a concept like that I've ever read. There is no need for anyone to post anything else, just read this post ;)
     
  12. MumblingSage
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    MumblingSage Contributing Member

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    I had a first draft that I realized partway through was really just an outline.

    I say 'just write'--but realize that your rough draft will probably be crap (they always are) and that you'll have a lot of work ahead of you even when you finish it. Also realize that, depending on how new to the craft you are, the story you write now might not be the one you end up with, and in the end you might have to give up on a story that just isn't working for you.

    But if you don't write and work with what you're writing, you'll never be able to grow.
     
  13. Rumpole40k
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    Rumpole40k Banned

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    Aside from Wreybies excellent analogy there is a second benefit to just writing - actually finishing the story. There is something supremely powerful about seeing a story through to it's end. A friend of mine used to always say that only 1 to 3% of all books started are actually completed. Just writing trains the brain to finish the work which is a major part of the battle.
     
  14. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    Something you need to do to make a story, especially a novel, is to "live" with your characters. The characters almost need to be "real" to you like anyone you see on the street. I'm writing back story on the front of the novel I've written, and it already has 266 pages on it now-before the back story. Kate, is a live person to me, I think about her during the day, before I write, and I end up asking her "what do you want me to say today?" on a daily basis to write.
    But keep plugging, you will get there.
     
  15. para_noir
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    para_noir Member

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    But but but but....

    if i write an entire novel, of say 100,000 words! So thats the 1st draft? OMG! So I have to go thru 100,000 words and make a second draft of that? Wow...no wonder alot of people give up..:(
     
  16. KP Williams
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    KP Williams Contributing Member

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    Same with me, minus the road blocks. I take my time and edit while I write. If I don't, it turns out terribly, and I know it, so it discourages me until I quit. I always want to make it as good as I can the first time around so there's less to worry about later. It just makes more sense to me than doing all the fixing later when I could do it now.
     
  17. silverfrost
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    silverfrost Member

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    This is true. Just finishing something can be so challenging, even when you know for sure every twist and turn, it can be hard to get it on the page if you initially obsess over every little word.

    I feel your pain. :p
     
  18. AwfulBigAdventure
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    AwfulBigAdventure Member

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    I think you can just write an outline instead of a taking charge and going forth on a 1st draft to save some time. It's still writing, but I find it's like writing a first draft before writing a first draft and the smaller page count saves me from losing stamina for when I do write it.
     
  19. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    Wreybies -Cool anology!

    I'm not one who agrees with the "just write" theory.

    People are different. One size does NOT fit all. A successful approach for one person might be ineffective for another.

    What is the goal of "just write"?

    There is an old adage, "Repetition doesn't make perfect; it make permanent!" Weak writing skills do not improve by "just writing"; they improve by studying your craft. Read books on plot and character development. Study proper grammar. Learn how and when to change Point of View. Study dialog styles of your favorite authors. Skills are learned by studying and applying those lessons...not by the vague admonition to "just write".

    Inspiration fuels writing. When creative ideas combine with literary skill, the result is a magical story that captures the imagination of readers. A writer who struggles for inspiration might be better off "putting the pen down" and taking a walk...or eating icecream...or listening to music. The human mind accomplishes amazing things at subliminal levels on anything of interest to you. When the product of this unconscious pondering slips into your consciousness, (at a time entirely of its own choosing), the result is far better than anything you might have forced in a "just write" funk.

    The problem with inspiration is you can't force it; but you can "recover" it.

    All people experience flashes of brilliance. Rarely do they come at convenient times for writers. Keep a notepad or cassette recorder near you at all times. When a particularly exciting thought comes to mind, capture it! The next time you sit down at your word processor, review your notes and the excitement returns! By the way, how often have you had a thrilling idea that you did not write down, and later find youself racking your brain to recall it?

    So, writing just for the sake of writing, seems pretty mindless to me. It might work for others, but I find it defeating. By the same token, if I sit down to write and I have lots of exciting notes to think about, then my biggest problem is apologizing to my wife for missing dinner!

    .....NaCl
     
  20. FinalConflict
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    FinalConflict Member

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    I know what you mean, my first few projects didn't really feel like they could've been my best work, they didn't even feel like work at all.
    Normally, if you're not getting into writing a story or you just aren't feeling it, that means you should put that idea on hold for the moment.

    But that's just me, I can't really speak for you here.
     

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