I wish Kirsty lots of luck with the new book, and send my thanks to her for inviting me to be part of her blog tour!
How to Write a First Draft by Kirsty Greenwood
I think the main thing to know about writing a first draft is that there’s no one way to do it. Some people find it better to plan out a plot before they even type the first word, many writers like to do just one draft and have it be perfect the first time around. I’m still figuring out my ideal ‘first draft’ process, but here are the top three things I’ve learned so far.
1. Give it your all.
Put everything and anything you want into your first draft. If you have an idea you think you ‘might’ like to explore just stick it in. If you think of a joke but aren’t sure if it kills, just chuck it in there. If a character pops up and they are not what you expected, you pop them in there and go with the flow. What matters is that you get all of your ideas out. Many of those ideas, you’ll probably get rid of in the edits, but some may lead to the greatest scenes in the book.
2. Relax, Baby!
It’s all going to be okay. Be kind to yourself. Writing a first draft is tough and the likelihood is that it’s going to be a bit shit at first. But it’s only one part of a much bigger process. You will almost certainly get feelings of dismay at how rubbish it seems. There will be a voice in your head that says ‘this is the wrong idea, the characters are not good enough, I have no business writing a book!’. Ignore that voice. It hasn’t got a clue what it’s talking about. That voice can do one. The important thing is to just keep swimming. You are writing a book. You’ve got this! You rock!
The most important thing of all when writing a first draft is to finish it. Even if it has massive gaps in it and characters that completely change personality or it veers off on a tangent you were not banking on. Finish it. Tell the story. And by which I mean, get down the bones of the plot as best you can. Everything will be much clearer when you type The End. Trust me on this. After you’ve finished it you can A) Be really proud that you wrote a whole book – not many people can do that. And B) Re-write it and get it the way you always wanted it to be. You can take out all the bobbins parts, you can refine character motivations, you can polish those jokes until they sparkle. But you haven’t earned the right to do any of that until you finish that first draft. Get it down in all its messy, beautiful glory. You’ll be so pleased you did.
Thanks so much, Kirsty!