Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Writing Challenge - The First Draft

Writing the first draft of a manuscript can be a magical time. Scenes, conversations, new characters, action – it almost seems to write itself. Your fingers are sore because you can barely type fast enough to keep up with the story. Whether you are driving to work, watching TV, lying in bed, or taking a shower your mind is in another place. Everything makes you think of your story. You even run out in the middle of a conversation because something has triggered a fresh idea and you must write it down before you lose it.

Everything is perfect. You have a perpetual smile on your face.

Until one day your main character stops cold, crosses her arms, and refuses to be prodded one step further. You can hardly blame her. After all, look at all the stuff you’ve put her through over the last several thousand words.

Or perhaps your main character is cooperating, but you have come upon a plot twist that you didn’t account for. It’s a brilliant twist, and you want to write it. But there is a problem. It does not fit with the overall story.

Maybe all of your characters are behaving, and your plot twists are seamless and exciting. Maybe you simply cannot think of anything else to write. You have hit a wall covered in spikes. (Ouch!) You realize that you have…


Writer’s block.

(queue forbidding, creepy music)

The first draft is certainly magical, but it is also filled with pitfalls and scenes that make you want to tear your hair out.

What is the cure?

Just keep swimming.

I mean writing.

(Sorry…Dory moment...)

Just keep writing.

Even if it is only a page, a paragraph, or even a sentence.

Make yourself sit down at that computer or pick up that notebook and write.

Eventually your characters will cooperate, your twisted plotlines will straighten out, and the words will flow once more.

I came across this really cool chart on this post a while back. If you are a person who works well with a schedule, what more could you ask for? Start with day one and keep going. Write every day.

I am going to start this challenge today. Anybody else interested?

How many days in a row can you write without breaking the chain?


  1. I'm in! You gotta kick me in the bum Kristin. I love the chart. I'm gonna buy cute stickers and put them on each day. Wahoo! Bring on the writing. Just keep writing. Great post!

  2. Julia,

    Yay! Fantastic! We can cheer each other on! I think the sticker idea is really cool. Hmmm... Perhaps I shall get some. :)