Creating the first draft of a novel is a long and complicated process. It is easy to become distracted from what is important: consistency, logic, and readability are typically my main focuses. Here are 5 things not to worry about when writing your first draft so that you can keep your attention fixed on the story you’re trying to create.
Writing ‘their’ instead of ‘there’ or ‘the’ instead of ‘then’ is something that all writers do. Ignore the spelling errors when you spot them, and fix your attention on the world or the characters you are trying to create. You won’t be able to get them all – that’s what the editing process is for. And you’ll go through several (if not more) other drafts before you even get to that stage. For a first draft, readability is of more importance than these little mistakes.
Missing Words/Punctuation Marks
Sometimes, when you return to what you were writing after a break – a cup of coffee, a sleep, a holiday – you notice words or punctuation marks that you missed (or duplicated) the last time you wrote. Don’t waste your time going back through what you wrote to find and correct these errors – focus on the content of your writing, and return to how it is written at a later time.
Writing a Story from Beginning to End
Stories, essays, articles, poems – lots of things that you read, whether online, in books, or in journals, have not been written by the author going from point A to point B all the way through to point Z. Authors can jump in and out of scenes and parts of the text, then piece them all together to create a first draft. So long as you have a plot outlined for each section, you can move around when you write, according to your inspiration – this helps a great deal when trying to create a consistent pattern of speech for individual characters.
Filling in the Little Plot Holes
Big plot holes are a big problem, but small plot holes are more difficult to identify, especially when working on a first draft. Eventually, you’ll want to get rid of these niggling little issues to create a more logical narrative, but if you spot them during a first draft merely make a note in the document (or somewhere else you will spot it) and come back to it later. Focus on the glaring points that need to be made for your story to progress towards its ending.
Creating the Next Best-Seller
It would be awfully nice to see the cover of your book in shop windows, wouldn’t it? Unfortunately, sitting and daydreaming about it won’t get your story written, and it won’t get it any closer to being published – whether independently or by that publishing house you’ve got your eye on. You can’t create a best-seller every time you write. If you’ve never been published before, then your first book is unlikely to leap off the shelves into readers’ hands – that’s why you have to keep writing!
Remember: your first draft will likely be very different from your final draft. There will be things to add, things to remove, and things to alter – but those things can come later.