I’m going to jot down some things that happened during my first draft, some good, some not so good. This is my first full length novel. Mistakes were many.
As I said in my first blog post, I started off with a few thousand words of something that could have been called a psychological thriller. It was in first person, which is where I am most comfortable. When I picked it up again and had gone a bit further I realised that I’d have to change to third to make it work, which was frankly, pretty scary. I don’t think I do third well, preferring instead to be right in the head of my character. So I had to find a variety of third that worked for me. I settled on third person multiple because it was a kind of balance between what I was used to and what I needed to tell the story.
Was this the easy way out? Absolutely not. Because in order to be able to write the story organically I would need more than what seemed ‘normal’. That was my first dither but I decided to just go with it and write the first draft. After all, that’s what edits are for, right?
I did make some notes on the characters I thought might appear in the second part of the book. They were barely there, although one I’d toyed with briefly before (another one of those long languished few thousand worders hiding in my folders). Two of the sketched out characters never even made it onto the page as the other two strangled them at birth because they were enough, so they told me.
Only one other character was needed and he wouldn’t appear until much later on. Wrong again. He demanded an entrance. Not only that, he brought along two others, who turned out to be some of the most interesting arcs in the book.
After three months it was finished *cue party streamers*
But then the real work had to begin.
Things I learned –
Don’t be afraid to change the gender of a character it if doesn’t seem right.
Don’t fret if you have to waffle your way through one day, there’ll be something worth saving.
If your character stalls think about if you’re pushing him/her in the wrong direction.
If more research is needed on a point, highlight it in some way, you can fill it in later. Don’t interrupt your creative flow.
Footnote : Genre wise I would class it as an urban fantasy with a twist of horror. That changed too.
This is great advice. I’ve seen a lot of this myself as I’m writing. Another thing to add, though, is that what you write in your first draft is never permanent. Write whatever you want to start with and then fix it in editing! 🙂