Thursday, April 04, 2013


Okay, instead of writing about developing a character or a scene, today I write about the development of a writer and developing a first draft, which are in some ways the same. Both begin a journey somewhere and travel an unknown road.
The first draft. How do you write yours? I’m one of those who begin with an idea. Sometimes the idea is a person.  I also start an outline, especially if I’m going to have a lot of characters and action in the story, which I don’t always know in the beginning. But I like the idea of an outline so I start one.  I then write, sometimes longhand, sometimes on the computer, and expound upon my idea or person until a story begins to take shape. I like this process but hate the stopping and starting of writing that is necessary at this point because I must find the road I’m looking for. I don’t always know in the beginning where the idea/person will take me, but even when I do, finding the way is sometimes difficult because I’m thinking, “we’ll take a left up ahead,” but then we take a right and the story shifts in a different direction than I thought it would. I think that’s why an outline is good. It is the road map I begin with even if I rarely stay with it all the way through. I just need the guide at the start to help me get moving. Then I write until I get to the end, but not always in a linear fashion. Often I write scenes and then put them together after, but I always go until I get to the end. Then I put it away and do something else for a while. When I come back to it, I’m ready to revise, revise, and revise. Am I crazy because I love that part?

As a writer my development has been good but slow, I think. I write but don’t always write well and that is my challenge. To write well. I don't kid myself. I am more of a simplistic writer than fancy. I love to tell a story but don't have to be a "literary" writer. One of the A to Z blogs I read yesterday used “boring” as her B theme and as I read her post I realized that I fight being a boring writer on a daily basis. It’s fine to put words to paper, but if no one likes to read them, it doesn’t matter what you write. So, my back seat drivers, a persistent little devil (self doubt) and unwavering little angel (cheerleader), keep me looking for new roads, new ways to imagine and articulate things, how to express myself and how best to encourage my readers to accompany me on my journey. 
Ray Bradbury perfected this art to brilliancy. Can’t count how many times I’ve wished I was him!  

Ray Bradbury

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  1. Great post!

    I can't say I've perfected the art of writing the first draft of a book. I've only completed one, back in December. (Approx. 75,000 words)

    When I reached about 45,000 words, I hit that mid-story lag that I heard about. It was frustrating, because I'd never gotten that far in writing a novel before. But I had a good vision for the story's climax and ending. So I wrote those before going back to the middle parts.

    It was liberating. Who says you have to write the first draft in linear fashion? Nobody else is going to see it.

    Good luck with the rest of your A to Z entries!

    1. Thanks, and you too! Glad you came by and left a comment!

  2. Developing as a writer was one of the main reasons that I joined the A-Z challenge. I love spontaneity in writing and need to be more disciplined! I appreciate you sharing your process in writing and also your insecurities. Thank you!

  3. Hi Lisa,

    I could really identify with your post. I'm not an outliner, but know I really need to be. For me, I know it's going to be a long journey..., but I think it will be worth it.


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