1. lovely
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    lovely Member

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    Problematic First Draft

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by lovely, Apr 8, 2009.

    I have a great idea for a novel that I have been working on for months, but I only have about 700 words written. Why? Because I'm so frustrated. This is my first attempt at a novel. I have written tons of short stories, and I have never had so much trouble. The idea is fine, and the plot is moving wonderfully. My prose is just exceptionally weak on this project. The narrative is awful, and the dialogue makes me want to vomit. It's so weak. My protagonist sounds like a whiny little girl.

    I've been trying to write it in first person, because the story is about how the protagonist finds out about herself and what is really going on in the world around her. I don't know if this is my problem or something else. Maybe first person isn't fitting as well as I thought it would.

    Does anyone have any suggestions for how I can fix the problem or just look past it until I get more words on the page? It really bothers me, because I know that I'm not doing justice to my story or my writing ability.
     
  2. crimsonrose
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    crimsonrose Senior Member

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    Indeed I do. Don't WORRY about it. :)

    Get to know your characters first. That's a must. http://www.squidoo.com/CharacterProfiles I suggest that site for ways to get to know them. The "If i were..." section helped me the most, oddly enough.

    I didn't fully get to know my characters, and now I am finding that I will have to go back and edit my story alot more than I'd like when I do my second draft, because i fear I had the characters react in ways, at some points, that just isn't "them"

    Other than that, don't worry about the dialogue or anything. Just get it out first, typos and all, and then go back and edit it. This is probably your writing style :) No biggie
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    First person is more difficult to write well. You can write just about as intimately in third person, and you will find the writing itself less restricted.

    A novel will require more plots than a short story. Every conflict experienced by a character defines a plot, and they all work together in enriching the primary plot of the novel.

    A storyline is a map of events that take place over a range of time. A plot is what drives an event or series of related events. See this post, What is Plot Creation and Development?, to get a better idea of the distinction between plot and storyline. Hopefully that will help you build plots more dynamically.
     
  4. Dalouise
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    Dalouise Contributing Member

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    It might help if you prepare an outline with a sentence or a paragraph to represent what happens in each chapter and aim for roughly 75,000 words. Some sections or chapters may be easier to write than others at first, and doing them "out of order" may give you confidence to tackle the rest. Don't worry about details right now, just get it all down the best you can, then think about editing. By then, you'll be flying! ;)
    I find that when I get stuck, reading a favourite novel helps me to get a feeling of pace and dialogue.
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i agree with cog, that you should try converting it to third person... that could be your only problem... an outline can also help...
     
  6. lovely
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    lovely Member

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    Thanks! I'll definitely try putting it in third person and all of the other suggestions. I appreciate it!
     

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