The First Draft Club

edited August 2014 in Writing
Hello TBers! A big hello and waves to all!

I'm rarely on TB these days, mostly because when I'm not working I'm trekking my way through what seems like the impossible feat of the first draft of my novel. (Hopefully today I'll be breaking through the 20k words mark)

I thought it might be an idea to have a thread specifically for anyone on here currently battling just to get that first draft done! All of us that are trying to just keep plodding on with hopes that eventually we will have a good novel at the end and having those moments of doubt, having to resist going back and re-writing the whole paragraph and thinking it's never ending.

I can't be the only one trying not to drown in the first draft. Hands up! How is it going? Let's motivate each other and keep plodding away!!



  • What a lovely idea. I'm battling with a non-fiction challenge and at the moment it's all about getting the timeline and facts correctly placed. I suppose I'm at the 'pre first draft' stage.
  • I have an incomplete first draft. That however doesn't make me a person working on a first draft.
  • The first draft is a rewrite of a previously finished novel, that on closer inspection was in need of serious work. I've added to it, and edited it, and added... and have nearly found myself sent off in directions I don't want to go that would add several chapters and a whole new and totally unnecessary plot twist to the finished work.
    I have now got it under control, and am hopefully about to finish the middle new section, which will join up perfectly with the end part. Until I get to read the whole thing in one go, I won't know, though.
    This was supposed to be a quick re-write to be put out to earn its keep while I worked on something else. A year on (though allowing for injury time) it's nearly, almost, practically there. I think.
  • Well I completed the first draft of my historical romance novella, but have been sidetracked by life and my club competition entry, but I will continue with the rest of that competition entry in first draft form, while I revise the other one.
  • Great idea, Emma. Well done on the word count.

    I have, yet again, stalled on the first draft of my supernatural thriller. Perhaps it's hormones (I've 10 weeks left until I become a mummy for the 2nd time), but I've many doubts and just feel I could write something so much better.

    I found myself completely changing direction a couple of days ago, convincing myself that crime fiction is what I should be attempting. So much so, that I'm awaiting delivery of a Forensics book for crime writers, as well as a book on police procedures and crime investigation for writers.

    I'm wondering if I've finally lost the plot - literally!
  • Perhaps you just need some time distance from it.

    You've obviously got a lot coming up, so probably reading will be the best thing.

    I remember my lack of concentration was the main issue when I was having the boys.
  • edited August 2014
    Thanks, Carol. I think you may be right. I think I'll just enjoy reading the two books I've ordered, as well as the usual crime/thriller fiction, but I won't do anything on the writing side until it feels right.

    It'll probably be a fair while before I'm into a routine with the young one's naps etc. That'll be my writing time whilst the eldest is at school as she starts P1 after the summer break. Eek!

    Hopefully my writing brain will have decided what it wants to be doing by then.

    In the meantime, I may revisit the OWC to keep me ticking over.
  • I have an incomplete first draft. It's probably the oldest incomplete first draft on TB. I get quite nostalgic about it, but not nostalgic enough to finish it.
  • I, too, have a first draft of an incomplete thriller. I am overwhelmed by the idea of finishing it.
  • Keep at it, Wolfie! I have eleven complete first draft novels ... and of those now about six second draft, three fourth-plus draft ... completing the first draft is, I hate to tell you, usually the easy bit. It's the next three drafts that get you! Why do you think I turned to short stories in the end? Damn sight quicker to complete and redraft AND there's an active market for them!
    Good luck, don't give up, you'll get there. But be prepared for all that will follow those little words 'the end'
    Smileyface if I could work out how
  • Ceka, : and then ) or : then D or even easier click on the little smiley face on the right hand side of the text box and choose
  • Crikey, he's a bit aggressive! Thanks, Carol
  • You need better eyesight than I've got to work out what all those smileys are, but they're fun.

    I have not first draft on the go, though I have an idea for a totally new novel, but that doesn't count.
    I am trying to motivate myself to continue with a rewrite, but Life keeps getting in the way.

    Debby - give yourself a break, love,in both senses of the word. I used to call it Pregnancy Mush - expecially towards the end, as you are, writing a shopping list coherently is a major achievement!
  • So true, Lizy! :)

    Good luck with developing the idea for the new novel.
  • I'm a little way through the first draft of my attempt at a novel. I have the full book planned and mapped out in chapters and I'm currently writing the draft and up to chapter 4 of about 30. I find starting each chapter is where I stumble and slow down but once I get into the chapter it starts to come a little easier but I have trouble guiding the developing story in the direction the next chapter. I just get lost in the story and characters and they do things that surprise me so I'm constantly working on the plan as well as writing the draft (if that makes any sense).
  • I write the first draft as a skeleton.
    So I'll have a basic outline of what I think fits where, some definite scenes, some possibles, dialogue, characters, but I'm prepared to make changes.

    As I discovered in my novella first draft, I'd write something early on and thought I could take it out later when it's revised, but further on the reason that earlier bit was put in, is then realised.
  • I write the first draft as a skeleton.
    So I'll have a basic outline of what I think fits where, some definite scenes, some possibles, dialogue, characters, but I'm prepared to make changes.
  • I usually have the opposite problem as it has been proved again - hit 50k words and the end is nowhere near in sight...onwards and upwards upwards upwords!!
  • I am well into the first draft of a novel. It's set in Cheshire and flits between the present and the early Victorian periods. Background research into the meres and mosses of Delamere and Victorian canal traffic has a way of distracting me and suggesting other projects to tackle next.
  • That sounds interesting, Eddisbury and I love the description 'meres and mosses' - !
  • Haven't done any writing since last Tuesday and it's starting to take it's toll.

    Something feels seriously wrong when I'm not writing. The good part is that it's because I've been away and enjoying myself but now getting back to it feels a little daunting. Must get back in the swing of it though, and that's the plan for later today. Back to the first draft!

  • I've only had time to write once this week, and when I'm in a writing stage, I get unsettled and antsy if I can't write when I need to.
  • edited August 2014
    A Damascene moment in the saga of Brockberrow, my ten year work-in-progress novel. (see above) I now realise that I started it half way through! I just knew something was missing.There is much to be set down before I arrive at what I thought was the beginning. Another ten years-worth at the very least.

    *sharpens quill*
  • Emma, Carol -- I can empathise. If I don't write for a while, it's difficult to get back to (okay, my week's holiday recently was the exception to the rule, because somehow I've written better since returning); and if I'm not writing, I feel bad about it. When I'm not writing, it isn't because I don't want to, it's because I'm working and have a house to run on my own, and I do like to keep this place in decent shape and cook for myself, none of this cheating, eating out and fast food.

    That's the interesting thing right now. I'm out of work. Money is dwindling. Job searching isn't going well. But the writing? Fantastic! I've got all this extra time. I spent weeks reassessing and re-planning my novel, which I've been going back to and taking breaks from for a long, long time. I'm glad I did now, and glad I have this opportunity, because I've seen its faults and know how to (and why, previously, I couldn't) progress.

    Last week, I realised I can complete the first draft in 20 days if I write 2000 words a day. Sounds great, right? I know I probably won't keep that up every day, and I haven't, but I did it 2 days consecutively. The past 2 days, though, I haven't touched the novel. Been working on short stories, and realised I've been letting things slide with the house because of my novel writing. But I'll come back to it.

    The downside is money's disappearing, yet I'm spending more on electricity than I ever have because I'm not out most of the day at work. Not making money, spending more. All for a good cause -- for the goal of entertaining people.

    When I find work again, I just need to keep writing as top priority, and somehow find a new balance of household duties and socialising.
  • I understand and sympathise TS.

    Finding that balance is hard, and there will be days, sometimes weeks, when it can go askew despite your plans and intentions because real life gets in the way- don't let guilt get to you at those times.
  • I put any writing on hold for several weeks, and it was unsettling. I knew I was in no fit state to do it justice but I missed it. Writing a 100 words flash story once a week wasn't enough.

    This week I've gone back to it - Life has settled down enough for that - but it's taking me ages to get the rhythm back!
  • Keep it up guys but I also agree with Carol. Guilt isn't constructive and when it's not possible to write you shouldn't feel guilty about it (even though I do all the time).

    Back to it for me today and I'm ending the day with the WIP at 21,299 words. Still a LONG way to go!
  • I discovered that having a draft of a novel is actually a management problem.
    I have ten chapters. Thousands and thousands of typed notes - scenes, dialogue. Thousands of words on each character in typed notes. I wish I hadn’t because I cant remember them all and too labour intensive to keep researching the notes. It is better to just take off and fly with it - rely on one’s instinct.
    I made the story - the interaction of the characters, their motives, too complicated. It is driven by three characters. What to reveal; when to reveal. One gets too close to it.
    I used to wake up and wonder what my characters were doing!
    One hears about professional writers re jigging scripts 20/30 times - as they go along - I don’t know how they manage not to get sick of their creations.
    I have started to rewrite. I have learned a little bit I think, so I am deleting a lot, struggling to decide on one pov [ a failing of mine when I started].
    Most of the reviews are good so I may press on - if only to get the damn thing finished and out of my mind.
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