As a young writer, I focus a lot of my time on social media and promoting other authors and writers in order to build my name. But that hinders the fact that I myself enjoy writing a story as well. So the past year I have been putting a priority on not only my blog and Twitter, but also plotting stories. I have written a first draft for a paranormal romance and am currently writing a first draft for another fantasy novel. Here is my take on the differences between my first draft attempts thus far.
When I wrote the first first draft, it was for NaNoWriMo and while I thought I was properly plotting the book, I was not. I sure enough filled an entire composition notebook of ideas of which about .05% went through into the story, but overall this was a puke draft. A zero draft, to say the least. I finished the draft with 25,000 words above the 50,000 goal before November was even over, and I knew I was in trouble. There was no way I was able to produce a clear story that quickly, especially knowing I impulsively switched the entire third act in the MIDDLE of writing it.
And I was write, that draft was shit. But I let it sit for three months and with fresh eyes, I have started a new notebook with fresh ideas and sparks of plot points to add. And here’s how I did it. Scene plotting.
They are the key.
On that first draft I was so set on creating cha-tears that I was cutting off my action and description and dialogue so that I could move onto the next chapter and not forgot an idea. But in reality, I was cramming scenes within chapters that did not need to be together. With this second project I am currently first drafting, I took two months to outline the SCENES and wow, it is a straight smooth shot. Obviously I hit bumps in the road with description and tone and what not, but the difference is substantial. So let me rewind…
Plot and outline your novel in SCENES before even writing the first draft. Because that is your ZERO draft. Once you have those scene by scene lists there is a foundation to build off on. You are forced to know the beginning, middle, and end. And it’s ok if it changes a little as you write in the filler and actual novel, that’s what the word draft is for.
But leave the idea of chapters behind and write your story in scenes. And then after that draft, or even a better draft down the road, is done, then read through and divide the scenes into chapters that flow. It is game changing.