Call me strange, but the first draft of a novel is one of my favorite parts of writing. It’s the phase in which I get to discover the story and characters and journeys for the first time. Pretty often I don’t have a clue what twists and turns are up ahead, and it’s so much fun to figure them out… or be completely shocked right along with the characters.
With every story I write, I learn many things. This week I’m wrapping up a first draft. Here are a few of the things I’ve discovered on this particular journey.
- Keeping the details straight is hard.
Even though I made notes, it was hard to remember certain specifics by the time I got several chapters beyond that initial occurrence. I have a feeling I’ll be catching many inconsistencies in the upcoming revisions phase. Good thing I’m a copyeditor and know how to go through a manuscript with a fine-tooth comb once last time before sending my book off someplace.
|Courtesy of Simon Howden and
- Ideas come at the worst times.
It never fails. When I’ve been brainstorming or writing a scene, the ideas don’t just shut off when I move on to another activity. I keep a flashlight, pen, and notepad next to my bed, because I often get ideas just a few minutes after snuggling beneath my comforter for the night. And I haven’t yet figured out how to take notes when the spark of an idea comes to me in the shower or while I’m washing dishes. Any suggestions?
- Brain breaks are productive.
One way I fight writer’s block is to take “brain breaks.” This could be anything from checking Facebook or Twitter to going for a walk to watching a movie with friends or family. The point of these breaks is to get my mind off my story, let that creative part of my brain rest a little. By doing this, I’ve found that my mind is more rejuvenated and ready to get back to work when I next open my novel document.
As I’m finishing up the last couple of scenes of this draft, I’m already asking myself: What will I learn on the next one?
What have you learned from your creative outlet?
What is your favorite “brain break”?
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