Last Updated on February 24, 2021
Writing your book for the very first time is a daunting challenge. For many, it has been a lifelong dream to be an author, to narrate their story for the world to experience it. Yet, it’s a dream that most find hard to attain.
So, is there a secret formula that can unlock your creativity and guide you while penning down your first draft for your dream novel?
Not exactly because every writer’s journey to completing their story is unique, with effective writing patterns and habits, bestselling authors have different ways to accomplish their writing goals. With that being said, if you want to get started on your dream, all you have to do is find your own path!
Here is a guide to get you started on writing the very first draft of your novel.
What is the First Draft?
The first draft of a book is the preliminary version of that piece of writing. The author attempts to develop the main characters, flesh out the plotlines, and to unravel their overarching themes in the process of creating their story during this stage.
The Process of Writing your First Draft
Writing a book is most definitely a time-consuming creative project. It demands months, or even years, of your time. Ask yourself if you’re ready to commit. You must write almost every day and rearrange your day so that you can put writing your book first for this period of time.
Stick to your commitment at all times, even when you don’t feel inspired, even when you’re lost, and more importantly, when the writing feels more like work and less like passion.
And if you’re ready, here are the steps to get you started on developing your first draft:
You need to ensure that your book idea contains all the essential elements of a complete story before you start writing. The premise of a story is the central idea of the book in a sentence of two. It would be best if you had the premise because it helps you to not wander off from your narrative.
It will keep you anchored and motivate you to move forward at the same time. Questions such as these will help you formulate a premise:
- Who is the main character of your book?
- What is their situation?
- What is their objective?
- Who are their opponents?
- What is the disaster/ conflict that your characters have to face?
These are story structures that are to be tried and tested to find what exactly resonates with your target audience. When you know the main plotline of your story, you will become familiar with your own story. You will know which direction to take without any lapse in pace.
When creating your outline, you can get started with some basic novel outline template that will help you cover all your bases. These templates allow you in setting up a scene, an incident, increasing challenges and conflicts for characters, and a climactic ending.
Your characters are the most crucial part of your novel. In this step, you can define your key characters broadly. By answering pivotal questions about your main characters, you can start building your cast for the novel. Once you know who your leads are, add intricate character details to make them unique and memorable to your readers.
A synopsis should describe the setup of the narrative, the significant incidents, overarching theme, and the central plotline of your story all condensed into a single page. This will give you a clear overview of your novel’s basic structure and ensures that you don’t wander off or hit a dead-end.
This is where you can develop the bones of your novel. Add details and expand on each of the sentences in the short synopsis. With this step, you can let your imagination go a little wild and add interesting layers to the basic plot outline that you had initially developed for your novel.
Defining your character’s goal and the decisions they take is crucial to ensure that the steps and actions they take are logical instead of being unreasonable or erratic. This will also give you visibility of your novel’s pace. You can identify if your book has too much action without breaks or long stretches of dialogue and pondering alone.
Ultimately, this largely depends on the type of novel you’re writing and the effect that you’d like to accomplish through it.
Learn what drives your characters to speak and act the way they do. Delve into what they need to learn about themselves and how they have to accept a change to reach their end goal. Strive to create three-dimensional and memorable characters that your audience will enjoy.
By developing their voice, their past, and their inner self, including flaws, fears, and motivations, you can create dynamic characters that are unforgettable for your narrative.
Outlining each of the scenes that you want in the book before you start writing can help in numerous ways. This outline blocks out what occurs in a particular setting including dialogues, actions, and anything relevant to give you the opportunity to come back and develop if required.
Writing your first draft
And now, it’s time to start writing your first draft finally! With such intense preparation, you know exactly how to lead the narrative of your novel without spending time wondering how to go about the story.
Remember, this is not the time for reflecting, editing, and perfecting your story. Let yourself loose and steam through the writing as fast as possible. Equip yourself with a book writing template to get you through the process if you have to!
Weave in important details that come into your mind. Locations, sub-plots, and character viewpoints help you convey that story that you’ve been craving to tell the world.
Wait No More!
With all the detailed planning and preparation that has gone into writing your first draft, your creative juices will free-flow, and a writer’s block dare not be in sight. With this process, your first draft is likely to be much stronger than otherwise. More importantly, it would save quite a lot of time and effort put into reworking on future drafts.
If you’re worried about your writing style at such speeds, fret not! During the editing phase, you can tighten the prose to make it an effective and compelling read for your audience.
What’s important now is to get the story out from within you. So, go ahead and start writing!