This week: That First Draft, Write itEdited by: Dawn Embers
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Fantasy Newsletter by Dawn
The first draft is a vital part of writing because without it, no other drafts would exist, including the last one. We all have to start somewhere.
With this month in particular, the word first draft comes to mind often. Anyone trying to write a novel for November it is the main focus because the purpose of the writing months to get down the first draft but this is not just a factor for novels. Every story has to start somewhere, so the first draft is an important (key) element in our process. For speculative fictions there are particular struggles to face or set aside, depending on the chosen route when writing a first draft.
One aspect is that of world-building.
While most fiction gets set in particular worlds and setting is something all writers face, when it comes to fantasy and other speculative genres, when getting ready to write that first draft there is the struggle of how much world do you need to create first. This is the world building genre. Many spend years getting ready to write as they develop all of the various parts that take up the world creation process. That can, however, become a hinderance to getting to writing. So much can be done to make the world that you might either remain stuck in the world building stage or maybe the story idea fades or something about it becomes less interesting so you move on to a different idea. Don't get stuck in creating to world and forget to start writing the story.
Then there are the characters.
Character development is important in fiction and fantasy characters have their own special twists most of the time. There are different things to figure out like magic abilities, science structures or survival possibilities in the case of horror. Whether it's the main point of view ones or the secondary and even minors, some work goes into figuring out how to have our characters fit within the genre and still reach that connection with readers. At times during the writing process, these are the ones who can sort of "takeover". This can happen at any stage but draft 1 is more prone to going on targets with characters that were not anticipated during any prep work done ahead of time.
The urge to edit.
Okay, this can be for any genre but I feel like mentioning it here as it's easy to question a sentence, wonder if maybe a different route needs to be taken, or rethink the structure of a fantasy beast. It's easy to get distracted during the writing process by that little voice that says "Fix it" and when it comes to the first draft, that is something you can either follow or ignore. Some fixes and edits are okay but they are going to slow down the process. Sure the finished product can be a hot mess at times from writing whatever first, however, it's hard to edit a blank page so it really does help to put out the words first then worrying about how to fix things later. Either way, there comes a time when you have to sit down at the computer or bring out the pen and paper so you can start writing.
Whether you are taking part in NaNoWriMo, focus on novels, write short stories or prefer to dabble, the advice remains the same: Write!
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How do you approach the first draft of a story?
Last month, I wrote about the darker side of fantasy. Here are the two comments sent in over the topic:
Comment by Steven
One of the recent novels (which is now a trilogy) was sent to an agent (who rejected it, it is with agent #3 now) I described as horror. It's about a teenager who discovers he can see strange creatures inside some people, finds he is not alone, and is set to kill a few while saving his girlfriend, but he has to overcome being a kid. Well, the agent told me it is not horror, but dark fantasy. She passed on it because she "does not take fantasy". So apparently I write dark fantasy even when I don't mean to...
- That happens at time. I've fallen into a few genres with certain stories. I can't write horror very often on purpose but even have the rare story or too that end up in that realm.
Comment by BIG BAD WOLF Is Thankful!
Are you sure you wish to know just how dark I can get? You might need a knife, and bleach.
- That is a fair question. I've read a few things that made me wish for bleach including a portion of one of the works by De Sade but I'm sure there is even darker or more traumatizing writing out there.
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