How to Write a Novel

Step Twelve: First Draft

Well, it’s been a long journey, but here we are, ready to begin a first draft.

If you’ve completed all your planning well, this first draft should take a fraction of the time it would have without the planning, and will also be as tight as a third draft of an unplanned manuscript.

All you need to do is go through, scene by scene, reading your blocking and converting it into actual prose, complete with nice sensual description, adjectives, metaphors, pithy dialogue and general awesomeness. Having the blocking means you can concentrate on the words, without having to worry about the large scale structure of your story – because you already know you got that sorted.

You can also refer to all your other notes whenever you need to, to check details about characters, locations, plot points etc.

Don't agonise over sentences or stress if you can’t think of the exact right word, just push through and finish the draft from beginning to end.

It can help to have a daily or weekly word count target to keep you going. Perhaps 1000 or even only 500 words a day. Pick a target that’s realistic and achievable, don’t try to be a hero and burn out and end up demoralized after three days.

Ultimately, you know best what motivates you - stick with it and keep moving forward until you have completed your first draft.

Task Twelve: Write the first draft of your novel.

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