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Have You Written Your First Draft Already? : Conversation question • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com

Have You Written Your First Draft Already?

Every month in Writer's Digest's InkWell section, we pose a question related to the writing life. Tell us your thoughts.
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Oleg Hasanov
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Have You Written Your First Draft Already?

Postby Oleg Hasanov » Fri Apr 10, 2015 8:05 am

Hey, gang!

I've been writing a zombie novel since last August and have written 60,000 words of the first draft so far. 60,000 more to go. How far are you into your novel? What stands in your way to finish your first draft? And what helps you in your writing?
What don't kill you make you more strong.

TerryRodgers
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Re: Have You Written Your First Draft Already?

Postby TerryRodgers » Fri Apr 10, 2015 8:11 am

When I'm in full novel write mode, I write 1,000 words a day (sometimes events may get in the way). If I do it in an hour, so be it. If it takes three hours, then I stay until done. I started my latest novel the beginning of January and should be done the first draft by middle of May. I'm shooting for around 95k words.

May I ask why you're shooting for such a large number for your novel? Are you already published or planning to self-publish?

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Oleg Hasanov
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Re: Have You Written Your First Draft Already?

Postby Oleg Hasanov » Fri Apr 10, 2015 10:22 am

What don't kill you make you more strong.

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mammamaia
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Re: Have You Written Your First Draft Already?

Postby mammamaia » Fri Apr 10, 2015 10:32 am

ALL 6 e-book collections of my work are FREE...email me with "want free books" in subject line and include a message.

FREE writing help/mentoring: http://www.saysmom.com

"You must BE the change you wish to see in the world." Gandhi

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onceuponwednesday
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Re: Have You Written Your First Draft Already?

Postby onceuponwednesday » Fri Apr 10, 2015 10:40 am

The Rule of Three

TerryRodgers
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Re: Have You Written Your First Draft Already?

Postby TerryRodgers » Fri Apr 10, 2015 10:54 am

I agree with Maia and Once. Increase your chances and stick with 80k-100k.

James A. Ritchie
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Re: Have You Written Your First Draft Already?

Postby James A. Ritchie » Fri Apr 10, 2015 11:39 am

Count the number of words in Child and Grisham's first novel. That's where you stand. You should also check the guidelines publishers put out. Even most agents have them, as well. These guidelines are designed for new writers. You usually have to earn the right to go beyond guideline length. You earn this right by writing a first novel that's shorter, and that sells very well. Once you prove your books will sell, publishers allow you to write longer books. It's rarely a good idea for a first time novelist to go over one hundred thousand words, and in your genre, eighty to ninety thousand is much better.

You really shouldn't try to stretch a story. Structure determines proper length, and the width, pace, and flow you used in the first three chapters determine how long the finished novel would be best at. If it reads as a really good story under one hundred thousand words, then leave it at that. If it reads as a really good story at eighty thousand words, leave it at that. If it doesn't read right unless it's under eighty thousand, or over one hundred thousand, and or pull a thread to make it fit.

Anyway, as long as it reaches eighty thousand words, the shorter, the better.

As for first drafts, I don't write first drafts, I write final drafts. I edit/rewrite/revise each page as I go, so when I reach the end of teh novel, I have the final draft . Right now, I'm roughly twenty thousand words into a fifty thousand word MG novel.

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Oleg Hasanov
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Re: Have You Written Your First Draft Already?

Postby Oleg Hasanov » Fri Apr 10, 2015 1:22 pm

What don't kill you make you more strong.

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Brien Sz
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Re: Have You Written Your First Draft Already?

Postby Brien Sz » Fri Apr 10, 2015 2:02 pm

I'm a 'bang out a draft' kind of writer. Even when I worked in tv and with articles. With my novel writing I tried to go back over what I wrote and fine tune it but I found it, unproductive - for me. I like the art of pounding away at a story until its conclusion. I often write notes as I go as to whether I want to expand on an idea, as well as pointing out spots where some research might be needed and the like. I also will jot down ideas I had for a previous section that I already wrote. All these then either get smoothed out, included or ignored in later drafts. Everyone is wired to work differently. I've listened to authors who've worked both ways and somewhere in between. As long as what works for you is productive, that's what counts. The goal is to get from Point A to Point B, the path you choose is yours.

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Oleg Hasanov
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Re: Have You Written Your First Draft Already?

Postby Oleg Hasanov » Fri Apr 10, 2015 2:08 pm

What don't kill you make you more strong.

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