First Draft..Second Draft..Third Draft..


So it begins

Image by Graham Binns via Flickr

Today has been a good day for refocusing. I was on twitter chats #writecraft and #storycraft and the topics were first drafts. As most chats end up going, it went down other paths but the main topics were first drafts and first chapters.

One of the questions was: What tools do you use to get into the Zone?

Another question was: Are emotions necessary for being in the Writing Zone?

A third question was: How do you turn off the internal editor and should you turn off the internal editor in the first draft?

There were a number of great points and questions raised. The great thing about these chats are the wealth of information us writers can be for each other. Each of us has a unique spin on the craft of writing and the writing life. Each of us, whether published or unpublished, have at least got through a first chapter and many have full first drafts completed.

So today I am going to ask you these questions which were raised in today’s chats:

  1. How important is a first chapter? Do you believe a book rests on the first chapter?
  2. Do you think a first chapter must have an immediate active element or immediate conflict?
  3. Which tools do you use – Music/Software/Stationery/Surroundings/Time of Day – to get yourself into the Creative Zone?
  4. Do you feel that the key to being in the Creative Zone is emotion – whether controlled emotion or the release of emotion?
  5. How do you turn off the internal editor?
  6. Should you turn the internal editor off during first draft and if so, how do you do this?
  7. Do you outline the first draft before writing it?

So the questions are given to you? What are your secrets for first chapters and first drafts?

What other tips can you share with me and the readers of this blog?

Post any tips or queries regarding first chapters and first drafts here…and lets get a discussion going.

© All Rights Reserved Kim Koning.

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6 Comments

  1. I work best sitting in my bed, with my electric blanket on, canines and feline around me…totally quiet….has to be totally quiet….need large blocks of time….lots of other responsibilities otherwise are too distracting. Sometimes I give myself the time and write first before the responsibilities. My favorite sounds…purring and the snoring of my dogs.

    My first chapter now was added months after the original one…it is about to be chucked so another can take its place….

    I start with the lesson I want to convey…then the symbols…intensive character motiv. sheets…then an outline….most imp. for me is the lesson…

  2. Ihear what I am writing and can create the first draft with the screen turned off. If I say nothing that surprises us by the end of the first third of the draft I start a new column on a new topic.

  3. 1. Do you believe a book rests on the first chapter? Not necessarily. I think it is important for grounding the story, but I believe a book needs to build as a whole through the climax to the end.
    2. Do you think a first chapter must have an immediate active element or immediate conflict? On the first page, not, but by the end of the first chapter, yes.
    3. Which tools do you use – Music/Software/Stationery/Surroundings/Time of Day – to get yourself into the Creative Zone? I reread all or part of the previous days writing to get into the zone.
    4. Do you feel that the key to being in the Creative Zone is emotion – whether controlled emotion or the release of emotion? I need to get into the heads and emotions of my characters to write their dialogue or reactions accurately, so I guess that’s a yes.
    5. How do you turn off the internal editor? The only way I can is to enter {TK make this change/note/cut, etc] where I want to make a change on the page and then go on. That way, I know I won’t forget to make the change and I also won’t lose the thread I’m working on now.
    6. Should you turn the internal editor off during first draft and if so, how do you do this? Yes, see question 5’s response. I’ve tried editing a first draft as I write and spent almost two years on the first 5 or 6 chapters. I wasted a huge amount of time rewriting those same chapters over and over again. By the time I finished the book, half those chapters no longer existed.
    7. I didn’t use to. Now I have a high level outline. I know how I want the story to end. I know the climax, and I know three huge obstacles that will impede my protagonist. That’s it.

  4. How important is a first chapter? Do you believe a book rests on the first chapter?

    Some books “rest” on their first chapter though I’ve read quite a few that beguile the reader in the first chapter and hammer them in the second chapter 🙂

    Do you think a first chapter must have an immediate active element or immediate conflict?

    Not always…

    Which tools do you use – Music/Software/Stationery/Surroundings/Time of Day – to get yourself into the Creative Zone?

    My Creative Zone only needs a bit of music surrounded by massive silence…

    Do you feel that the key to being in the Creative Zone is emotion – whether controlled emotion or the release of emotion?

    I find it hard to completely separate my mind and heart.

    How do you turn off the internal editor?

    My Muse takes care of that 🙂

    Should you turn the internal editor off during first draft and if so, how do you do this?

    I absolutely feel the editor must sit outside while the creative process is unfolding. Like I said, my Muse is way more powerful than my Editor.

    Do you outline the first draft before writing it?

    I have done that in my latest work. Other writings have rebelled at the very idea 🙂

    • Thanks for taking part in the discussion Alexander.
      Does your Muse have a name? What sort of music do you listen to? I tend to listen to either classic or jazz when writing depending on the WIP. I also work on OmmWriter which has its own unique soundtracks – on that I listen to the sounds of a forest with a waterfall in the background or the sound of incoming tide on the ocean. Turning the editor off was something I had to learn to do and something that NaNoWriMO taught me how to do. But I agree that for the first draft the editor needs to be turned off. I don’t outline although I do freemind when I first come up with an idea or meet a new character. I do like to outline a character though. I work out their backstory and put them through a personality test. I also like interviewing them. One of the writers from the twitter chats writes letters as the character which I thought was another unique way to hear the character’s voice.
      Thanks again for all your comments. I enjoyed viewing a little of your process. 🙂

      • The name of my Muse?? Nope, no can reveal 🙂

        Hmmm… I think I might like a nature soundtrack…

        Freemind?? As in the MindMapping software??

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