"Read the best books first, or you may not have a chance to read them at all."-Henry David Thoreau

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Writing the First Draft

At the end of this month I am scheduled to attend the Storymakers Conference in Salt Lake City.   In preparation for this conference I've been working like a mad woman to finish the first draft of my first book!  Squeee!  I'm so close it's painful! Seriously, I just want to write ALL the time.  Over the past year, my book has grown from an abstract dream of wanting to one day maybe, possibly write a book,  to a burning desire that my brain won't shut up about it until I had it down on paper. Well, I think I drove everyone around me a bit crazy, especially my husband and children (sometimes even myself), but it's been so satisfying to create it.  Around thirty pages into my writing journey it was pretty clear that I needed more knowledge to write this book, so I started writing authors I liked, looing up blogs, attending conferences etc. Now six months later, my writing is still in it's infancy, but I thought I  would share a few resources that have helped me to write the my first draft of my novel  (and a few things that I wish I had had before I started writing my novel).

First things first, if you are serious about writing, then attend a conference.  ANWA was a great conference and I highly recommend it.  Storymakers is another conference that I understand is amazing! And its coming up at the end of this month!   This is by far the best place to gain a vast amount of knowledge in a short amount of time, network with other authors, and develop your talent for writing.  So invest in it.

If you can't attend, there are other terrific resources that you can take advantage of too.

1. Dan Wells speaks here on Plot.
2. Writing on the Wall by PEG (a blog about all things writing)

A Few Books:

1. Story by Robert McKee
2. Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell
3. Eats Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss
4. The Elements of Style by Strunk and White
5. Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Browne and King
6. Characters and Viewpoint by Orson Scott Card
7. The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell


1. Scrivener (software)
2. Alpha Smart Neo (keyboard with small screen for when you want to write on the go)

My first words of advice:  Write.  A lot. And then write some more.  For me, I didn't do any research on how or what to write.  I just started writing.  In some ways this served me well (I got to be creative without worrying about pleasing others or feeling like I was doing it "wrong") and in others it was such a disservice (wasted time, writing in circles, etc.).  All through school I loved my English and Writing courses (no, I'm not an English major, which is pretty clear because I'm sure my grammar and punctuation is atrocious... I'm truly sorry, I promise to hire a really good editor before I publish my first draft) and I also loved reading, but I never had a creative writing class, though I wish I had.  I just dove right in.  Starting with a skeleton outline (my story has remained a few of those elements, but it's grown and evolved so much since then) and then moving on to  a very brief character sketch and finally I began filling in the outline with scenes I knew I wanted in my book.

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