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7 Reasons to Write an Entire 1st Draft before Going Back to the Beginning

There are important benefits of writing a novel or memoir from beginning to end before going back and starting again. Here are seven of them that you should know.

There are important benefits of writing a novel or memoir from beginning to end before going back and starting again. Here are seven of them that you should know.

1) Rather than stop and start over again and again, when you allow yourself to write a rough first draft from beginning to end, you actually finish a draft all the way through.

2) Until you write the end, you do not have a clear grasp of what comes earlier.

3) You accomplish what you set out to do.

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Martha Alderson, aka the Plot Whisperer, is the author of the Plot Whisperer series of writing resources for authors: The Plot Whisperer Book of Writing Prompts: Easy Exercises to Get You Writing , The Plot Whisperer Workbook: Step-by-Step Exercises to Help You Create Compelling Stories, companion workbook to The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master (Adams Media, a division of F+W Media), Blockbuster Plots Pure & Simple (Illusion Press) and several ebooks on plot.

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As an international plot consultant for writers, Martha’s clients include best-selling authors, New York editors, and Hollywood movie directors. She teaches plot workshops to novelists, memoirists, and screenwriters privately, at plot retreats, through Learning Annex, RWA, SCBWI, CWC chapter meetings, Writer’s Digest, The Writers Store and writers' conferences where she takes writers beyond the words and into the very heart of a story.

As the founder December, International Plot Writing Month better known as PlotWriMo, Martha manages the award-winning blog for writers: The Plot Whisperer which has been awarded honors as a top writing advice blog by Writers Digest 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013. Her vlog, How Do I Plot a Novel, Memoir, Screenplay  covers 27 steps to plotting your story from beginning to end and playlists to help writers create a compelling plot for their novels, memoirs and screenplays. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.

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4) Once you have a skeleton in place, you are able to stand back and "see" her story in an entirely new light

5) Until you write the entire story, you do not know the end. And until you write the end—the climax—you do not know what belongs in the beginning.

6) The less time you devote to making every word perfect in the first couple of drafts the less painful future cuts and revisions will be. Because you haven’t invested hundreds of hours going back to the beginning, you’ll be less reluctant to cut the customary thirty-five to one hundred pages that almost always get chopped from the beginning of the manuscript. The more of yourself you give to making every word perfect before moving to the next scene, the more emotionally attached you become to the words. Cutting your work is never easy, but the more you can endure the chaos of ugly prose, gaps, and missteps in the early drafts, the better.

7) One of the greatest benefits of writing a truly awful, lousy, no good first draft is that it can only get better from there.

Join Martha October 17th at 10am Pacific and learn
How to Pre-Plot & Complete a Novel or Memoir in a Month:
The Benefits of Writing a Fast Draft from Beginning to End

(a Writer’s Digest Webinar)

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Follow me on Twitter: @BrianKlems
Check out my humor book, Oh Boy, You're Having a Girl.
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