Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Finishing the First Draft

Something I've always done well is finishing the first draft, the process is simple for me.

I have an idea.
I let it marinate (plot in my head).
I sit and write.
My life is consumed until it's complete.

1st novel written (5 weeks), 2nd novel written (14 days), 3rd novel written (5 days).

So here are tips to help you finish writing your novel.

1. Set aside a time to write and keep it sacred. (I make time, my mind and the story consume my brain until it's written. I write until my fingers are about to fall off).

2. Remove all distractions while you write. (this insures you get the most out of the time. I fall victim to distractions but when I'm in the moment nothing stops me.)

3. Outline your plot. (I added this for those who struggle with their thoughts. Write them down, get the story set up before you begin.)

4. Avoid the intimidation of a blank computer screen. (Key: Just write)

5. Keep a draft mentality. (This is a draft. Several writers revise and write, revise and write, but when you're just looking to finish a draft, put that revise mentality in the back of your mind and Just Write.)

6. Don't feel compelled to begin at the beginning. (for NaNo writers I'm not sure this would work, but if you're just looking to start writing, start where you feel is right.)

7. Organize your chapters, especially if you are not going to write in order. (If writing out of order this will work for you a lot more!)

8. Don't be afraid of putting yourself out there. (sharing work will change your life!)

9. Only you can determine when you are finished. (When it's done it's done. Don't let anyone tell you, only you really know.)

10. Make up your mind to finish your novel, and you can do it. The only thing standing in the way is you.

For more tips in detail visit this link.

Have any other thoughts you'd like to share? Any other tips?

73 comments:

Candyland said...

Eat candy. Cry. Complain to blog buds.

Renae said...

Wow! 5 days! That is amazing. I love this advice. With my next WIP I have vowed to just write. Not write and edit like I usually do. I want to get the words down, accept the fact that it might not be perfect and save the editing for the second draft.

Diana Mieczan said...

OMG...you are a super girl!hahah...Those tips are amazing and I would also add: eat as many chocolate chip cookies as you possibly can:)...It gets you going!

Kisses,sweetie pie

Ps: I’m hosting a sweet t-shirt GIVEAWAY later today, so please join in :)

Christina Lee said...

Swear a lot, listen to good music, smile, cry. ;--) It takes me a couple of months to crank something out (not like you, Lightning McQueen) and these are great pointers, girlie!

Bish Denham said...

Wow! Five days?!?

I have to write in chronological order, so I have a loose outline and take lots of notes as I'm working for future scenes.

The Blogger Formerly Known As said...

A novel in five days? Wow, that’s extremely impressive!

I didn’t really know where my story was going (they often have a life of their own, in my case). And then, I suddenly knew the ending, wrote that, and now I have direction. So, it’s closing in from both sides, and will hopefully meet somewhere in the middle.
The enigmatic, masked blogger

Liz Fichera said...

Massive amounts of chocolate help, preferably chocolate-covered espresso beans (my fav).

Seriously, I can totally relate to the "my life is consumed until it's finished part."

Slushpile Slut said...

I wish I could bang out books like you Jen, however I think I'm more like Candyland's approach...

"Eat candy. Cry. Complain to blog buds" LOL

I'll work on it though now that you gave me some great tips :)

Christine Fonseca said...

Man!!! You are a rock star (do not compare, do not compare, do not compare...) Srsly - love your tips!

Anne Gallagher said...

Great advice. Where were you two years ago when I started all this craziness?

You go! Nothings going to stop you now.

Jessica Bell said...

I wish I could do that! Unfortunately I just can't ... yep slap me on the wrists!!! :o)

Jess said...

That's incredible (5 weeks, 14 days, etc.)! Love the tips :)

Summer said...

And also know when to take a break. Creative burnount is fast, thorough, and sharp as a tack (sorry, I listened to Cake yesterday).

Creepy Query Girl said...

omg, to finish a novel in five days I think I'd have to forgo food and sleep.

Lindsay (a.k.a Isabella) said...

Wow, you are my drafting hero!

I tend to take around 5-6 weeks to finish a draft, but I'm getting quicker.

Christine Danek said...

Like I said in my email, you must have a clone(s). Great tips. Any tips on how to develop a mute button for children?
You go!
Still trying not to compare myself. :)

Bee said...

I really need to try this. Really, really, really. And I hope it works.

Wrapping up the first draft kills me.

Angela Felsted said...

Thanks, I needed this today. Just do it.

Signe said...

Oh my, 5 days! You are like a NaNoWriMo rockstar :)

Meredith said...

Such great tips! I definitely need to follow #4 and don't worry about a blank computer screen. That's always my stumbling block.

Carolyn V. said...

Those are awesome, and I agree with them all! How cool is that? (Although I've stared at a blank screen before...hate that!)

McKenzie said...

Wow, you must be superwoman! Great tips, though, for those of us who have always dreamed about it :)

Sondrae Bennett said...

5 days! And I thought I was fast... Actually that's a lie I think I'm on par. But not 5 days par! You're a rockstar!

salarsenッ said...

Wow! You're awesome. I think #4 is really important.

Brenda Drake said...

Wow, you are a machine! I kept watching your word count go up on my buddy list and I was inspired to keep writing. Thanks for tips! :D

Talli Roland said...

Fantastic tips, Jen! You're so right: the only one who can do it is you and the only one who can stop you is you! You just need to sit in the chair and get it done.

Shari said...

You are a writing machine. It takes me longer to get it out. Number 5 always gets me. I have to keep telling myself "It's okay if it's crap. It's supposed to be puke on a page." Awesome ideas! And thanks for stopping by my little neck of the woods.

Vicki Rocho said...

I'm bad with the distractions and really bad with the chapter thing. I sorta put a few blank lines where I *think* the chapter could come in, but I can't put too much thought into it because then I'd be stressed one chapter is 2 pages while the next one is 12.

Great tips though! Just the motivational pep talk I needed. Can you do that for the gym, too?

Teenage Bride said...

woah five days!!! Really!!!! Oh my gosh you are superwoman!!!!

Matthew Rush said...

This is all great advice! For me I have to have a specific computer/desk/location for writing. It can't be the same one I dick around on the internet on. In fact it's best if it's not even online. Then it's like going to work ... and I actually get WORK done (writing).

Bekah said...

5 days is crazy!1 I think I def need to do the schedule thing- alotted time ONLY

Anne said...

You. are. a. machine. I have a feeling that this would be easier w/o two youngin's who always need things. :)

Madeleine said...

Hope all the hard work pays off. Good luck. I wish I was as motivated. :O)

Laura Marcella said...

Holy moly, Jen! You're fast! Do you even sleep when you're writing a novel?

I'll add consuming lots of chocolate to your list. Typing is exercise, right? So basically you're burning the calories as you eat them. ;)

Crystal Cook said...

Jen this is The Best Post Ever. I'm so glad you shared your secrets!! :) And I'm SO amazed at how fast you write. FIVE DAYS???? You are on fire!

Debbie Curran said...

You are a drafting goddess! Holy canoodle, you're amazing! five days?! Oh, to be so good... ;)

And great tips, thanks!

Amber Tidd Murphy said...

Wow -- I'm impressed at your ability to speed write. I'm only really good at the "marination phase..."

Great tips, though! I especially love the "organizing the chapters" tip. I think I need to quit being a panster -- I mean, once I start working on my ms again. ;)

Jai Joshi said...

This is a great list of tips, Jen! And that's amazing, that you wrote your novels in such a short length of time.

Jai

Wendy Paine Miller said...

Number 8 really changed things for me. Allowing others to critique my work greatly improved it.
~ Wendy

Jane said...

Wow, they are amazing time scales! I work full time so would struggle with getting anywhere near them (OK, I'm already well past them!) But number ten is key for me. I need to keep going!

Colene Murphy said...

great tips! Thanks for sharing your process. It's incredible how fast you can write!!

Heather said...

Excellent tips, and I'm totally blown away by how fast you write! Wow!

Lenny Lee* said...

hi miss jen! im real bad about getting distracted cause we got so much people at our house. sometime i gotta fight to get on the computer and cause im more small mostly i lose. ugh! im just way behind on the book im doing now and i gotta get back at it cause for sure i want to get it done. for another writing tip you just gotta have a big bowl of sparkles so when your get slowed down you just toss a handful in the air and it gets all over you and gets you going again. :)
...hugs from lenny

Donea Lee said...

Your draft times? SERIOUSLY impressive! :) I mean, like...WOW. Some of my stories have marinated so long - they've started sprouting mold!

But, I love these tips. The best one for me to follow is "just bang it out - get it down - write!" It's probably the one I struggle with the most...but, I'm getting better! (kind of) :)

The Golden Eagle said...

Those are some amazingly short times for writing a first draft! Wow. :D

Excellent list of writing advice!

Sara B. Larson said...

5 DAYS!! I never want to have one person tell me how mad they are at me for being a fast writer again. :D Great advice!

Clarissa Draper said...

Wow, five days! I'm so jealous. I have a family that won't give me the time to think. Write comes in spurts but I love your advice to us #5. I'm going to try and do that.
CD

Susan Fields said...

Great tips! I think it's especially important to just write and not edit. I guess everyone does it their own way, but if I was worrying about how good the writing was, I'd never finish a first draft.

Jessica Hill said...

I have a tough time keeping the draft mentality. I'm one who writes and revises, then repeats. Although it's not something I would recommend for NaNoers, it's just how some writers are. For me it's more of finding a balance between getting the words down and letting the internal editor do it's thing. Tricky, but I think it can be done.

Great tips Jen!

T.Knowley said...

Great advice, I think the majority of your don'ts are my do's that I'm trying to get past. I have an awful habit of editing as I write and often will destroy and change the direction of my story to the point that I no longer have any idea what it's about.

So that is the bad writing habit I am working on right now and it's working the story is flowing with a life of it's own. Who would have guessed that suppressing that inner editor would be so productive. ;)

Melissa Gill said...

Great idea. It'a all about focusing and making the time to do it.

Jolene Perry said...

I am SO happy to know another fast writer. If I didn't have two kids and a husband and a house and...
You get the idea.
I finish with the first draft within a month, easy. That's with, work and kids and all that extra stuff.
I hope to one day be paid to write - giving me the delightful excuse to lock myself in a room for 8-10 hours at at time.

Nicole Zoltack said...

At your rate, you'll soon finish novels in one day, you rockstar, you!

The biggest key for me is to eliminate distractions. Emails, blogging, facebook, twitter. I would probably get my writing done much faster if I typed on a computer not hooked up to the internet. Unfortunately, I need the internet for research so there goes that idea.

Emy Shin said...

Oh wow. You're such an amazingly fast writer -- a novel in 5 days? Thank you so much for sharing the tips with us!

erica and christy said...

you are unbelievably fast! i need to try writing out of order when writer's block hits. thanks for the post!

E. Elle said...

I think you hit the most important parts. In my first draft, I try to remind myself that everything's fixable and, most importantly, that I should enjoy myself. :)

roxy said...

These are excellent suggestions. I needed this post! Thanks, Jen.

Melissa said...

These are all true and EXCELLENT examples Jen. I pretty much did all of this the last eight days to crank out the final chapters (2/3) of my novel.

(Still can't believe I finished)

You are also, the MASTER, at blog banners. Just saying.

Pk Hrezo said...

Great advice! I always call the first draft the backbone of the story, then you go back and add the heart and brains with the first revision.

The Happy Whisk said...

Yeppers. Just gotta do the work. Good post.

I've been reading some of the writing blogs today and it's nice to see so many working hard.

Just joined your blog. Nice to meet you :-)

Diane said...

Great tips! I'm having trouble getting a query letter done.... too many opinions out there and in my brain... Thanks for the encouragement! :O)

Rachele Alpine said...

I am jealous of your amazing writing speed! I need to silence the self editor in me when I'm writing and just write, write, write without thinking!

Kelley Vitollo said...

Wow... I think you just might be my new hero. LOL. that is some fast writing. Congrats on finishing!

Jemi Fraser said...

I haven't been able to write with an outline. It seems to such the fun out of it for me. I do some plotting in my head first too. I create the ending scene, the beginning scene and maybe one other scene. Then I'm good to go. :)

Krispy said...

5 days?! I can't even fathom that. That's kind of amazing. No, it IS amazing!

Love the tips, and as I'm struggling with NaNo, they come at the perfect time as nice little reminders to just GO FOR IT. Thanks!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

How on earth did I almost miss this?! I must have had my head up my butt today! Geez! Anyway, awesome post, Jen - as always. LOL. I'm bookmarking! :-)

Donna Hole said...

Right now my biggest distraction is the day job. Kinda hard to ignore that. It also cuts into setting time aside from writing.

However, I do realize I need to be more diciplined in writing time.

This post just reinforces my own beliefs. Excellent points to keep in mind. And I'm famous -with my characters at least - for writing scenes out of sequence.

..........dhole

Gabby / Gypsy*Diaries said...

It's totally like me with photography! :)
Thank you for joining the Ex-Presso / Blog couture giveaway! I hope you'll win! ;)
xxx

http://gypsy-diaries.blogspot.com/

Holly Ruggiero said...

Great tips. #8 is the hardest for me, but I'm working on it.

Cher Green said...

Wow, five days! Well, 5 weeks is even impressive. Great steps. I do the best I can. It usually takes me a few hours to get a first draft of a short story, then a couple of weeks to pull it together.

Ellie said...

Great tips but there is no way I could write a novel in five days! How on Earth do you do it? Even if your first draft was 50,000 words, that's 10,000 a day and at least ten hours at the computer. I think my brain would shut down on me. LOL.

KristywithaK said...

Thanks for the helpful tips, Jen! If only I could follow number 5. I'm a stickler for revising, much to my MS's detriment. I can sit for hours and revise one paragraph!

20 York Street said...

Have bottles of wine on stock? =)

Seriously, thank you for the tips!

besos,

ML

Would love for you to say Bonjour at:

20 YORK STREET