How I got to my rough draft

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Now I’m getting to the fun part!

Sorry I haven’t published in a while. I have a good excuse: I finished the draft of the novel I started for 2018’s National Novel Writing Month. I’m calling it The Sentient and it falls under the genre of science fiction, more specifically, space opera.

One thing I’ve realized about my method of writing a novel is layering. While there is no one way to write a book, some methods may resonate more than others to a writer.

If I were to break down how I’ve written this novel, I would say this:

  • Character creation– Back in October 2018, I started creating characters using the Myers & Briggs personality descriptions as foundations. I also used some other resources. You can read more about it here.
  • Simple outline– I write a sentence or two describing each scene. I include key words or pieces of dialogue to use later, but less is more at this stage.
  • Detailed outline– The best way for me to do this stage is to just sit without feeling compelled to write. According to my simple outline, I know my characters need to get from point A to point B, but how? At this point, instead of trying to write and getting frustrated because I can’t think of anything to type, I stop. I think–without writing. When something comes up, jot it down. Make a list of steps that need to happen in that scene.
  • Exposition– After I have a detailed outline, tell what is going to happen in the scene. I can include description and dialogue, but not much else. When I finish this, I can say I have a rough draft to some extend.
  • Exposition with some narrative– At this point, I add more character traits to my character descriptions, recheck my scenes for notes I wrote when I thought of something later, and more writing style. It’s getting stronger. I also start thinking of theme.
  • Narrative with less exposition– I go through and “show” where narrative is appropriate and “tell” where exposition is needed. I layer in subtext, figures of speech and sentence variety. I may layer in more description or whatever is needed.

I just borrow from here and there …

I’d say this WIP has been a combination of using the Snowflake Method, Three-Act Structure and the Hero’s Journey. Whatever method you use for your WIP, don’t apologize for how you write your novel. Do what works for you.

And have fun!

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Photo by Igor Starkov from Pexels

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