Blog, Writing

You Can Write! Part Twelve— Play Fast And Loose

Writers vary in the amount of planning they do before starting to write. Some use software systems such as Snowflake or Scrivener to guide them. Others plunge straight in. Both systems have their good and bad points, so it comes down to personal preferences. 

When you’re first grabbed by an idea, plan as much or as little as you like but don’t get bogged down in too much detail when it comes to working on your first draft. Fiddling with tiny details makes the challenge of writing a whole book seem much harder than it actually is.

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As long as you’ve done your groundwork on characters and conflicts, try charging straight through your story, writing only the dialogue. Scribble away as fast as you can, getting down on paper or screen all the juiciest exchanges you’ve been dreaming up. Start the beginning, and work right through to the end. You’re not looking to write the whole 60,000 words or whatever at this stage. You’ll probably change a million things about your manuscript before you’re satisfied with your final draft, but right now you’re concentrating on the basics.

What you want at this stage is a sure-fire way to boost your writerly self-esteem. This first, dirty draft will capture all the edge of the seat stuff – the interplay of character and conflicts that first attracted you to your idea.

Once you’ve got the basic scaffolding of your story in place, you can go back at your leisure and create a second, cleaner draft. Refine your work with more description, lots of character development and some crackling conflict. Polish your story until it’s a perfect read!

2 thoughts on “You Can Write! Part Twelve— Play Fast And Loose”

    1. Hi, R J—start writing, and use it as a way to download everything you’ve been turning over in your mind up to that point. It doesn’t matter whether it’s dialogue or narrative. The important thing is to get a feel for how your ideas will shape up on the page. Once you’ve started, you’ll find inspiration begins bubbling along with more ideas. When you come to a natural break, pause, and review what you’ve written. It’s amazing how often this resolves the rest of your plot, pointing the way your story should progress. Good luck!

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