Why I Won’t Rush The First Draft of My Next Novel

One of the conventional pieces of wisdom fiction writers hear is, “Write a quick and dirty first draft. You can always fix it later!” As someone who has been writing fiction since 2014, I have heard this advice a lot from both professionals and amateurs. It’s practically canon, up there with, “Show. Don’t Tell.”

I myself have cranked out a first draft for a 120,000 word cyberpunk novel in a mere two months. Many people use the month of November for this very purpose.

Now some people swear by this model. It may work great for many folks. But it doesn’t work great for everyone. For me, writing a first draft is like laying concrete for a sidewalk. Once the concrete dries, it’s difficult to go back and repave it later. A story evolves naturally from character motivations. If key components of your characters’ motivations have to be changed later, then you are going to have to do massive rewrites of the plot itself, practically writing a new book. It’s like building a road to one location and then discovering you are going to have to build a whole new road because the location has been changed.

And apparently I am not the only one who thinks this way. There are several other writing sites out there that explain the pitfalls of rushing a first draft, which I will link to at the end of this article.

Rushing a first draft may work very well if you are a planner. If you have all the key plot points, scenes, and character motivations written down in an outline or in your notes, then rushing the first draft itself could work very well for you. Things like setting and the choreography of action in a fight scene can always be improved upon later. However, if you are like me, and write things by the seat of your pants, you may end up with a manuscript that takes way too long to revise because you didn’t think through key story components beforehand. Much like building a house with faulty components, and then having to build over the weak material–which is often harder than just building a whole new house from scratch.

Things you should think about before you write your manuscript:

  • Main characters and their motivations.
  • What makes your characters likeable? What do they struggle with? Why should people want to read about them?
  • What is the arc of the characters?
  • What is the key conflict of the story?
  • What is the premise of the story?
  • Key plot points. “Tent pole scenes.”
  • Genre and conventions of the genre.
  • Research key components of world building.

Problems that can happen with rushing:

  • The rewrite process takes much longer than it should.
  • You may end up rushing your book to publishers before it’s ready.
  • You may lose interest and end up working on something else. If you wrote something that takes so much time to fix that you basically have to write a whole new novel on top of it, you may just prefer to write a whole new novel instead.
  • You have something that is fundamentally not marketable.

Anyways, that’s why I’m not going to rush my next first draft until I have key components of the story thought through. This will be difficult for me, because the writing process itself is what is fun for me, and not the planning process. But I think if I can force myself to do a little more planning beforehand next time, it will pay off in the long run.

And also, it’s OKAY to write something that doesn’t sell or get published. Ultimately doing something is better than not doing it at all. Perfection is the enemy of the good. However, as we evolve in our craft, we should also work at getting better with the planning process as well.

Why Fast First Drafts Aren’t for Everyone (The Write Practice)

3 Ways to Avoid Rushing Your Book (Writing Cooperative)

5 Pitfalls of Rushing Your First Draft (Script Wrecked)

Sufi Mystics On Mercury

There’s not an abundance of sci-fi stories written about Mercury.

So in conjunction with writing my guide to World Building on Mercury, I also wrote a short story.

I am fascinated with the Dan Brown style of combining two seemingly unlike things. For him it was the Vatican and CERN’s atom smasher. For me, it was spiritual mysticism and Mercury.

I was inspired by the Sufi wisdom in The Way of the Sufi Kindle by Idries Shah. So I wrote a story that encapsulated some of these lessons.

CHECK IT OUT HERE: The Blind Mystic in Vanishing Point Magazine

#SFFpit on Twitter Today!

Image courtesy of hqwide.com

Today is #SFFpit on Twitter. You have a chance to pitch your science fiction or fantasy novel to agents in a single tweet.

#SFFpit has already started, since it is 8am-6pm EST, but you still have plenty of time to jump in. 

The rules and details about #SFFpit are here

Make sure your novel is actually finished. If you want to help your friends, you can retweet their tweets but don’t like them, unless you are an agent. 

Unlike other pitch days, #SFFpit is only for sci-fi and fantasy. But what’s great about it is that you can make one pitch per hour. Giving you 10 chances to pitch your story.

Have fun and good luck! 

1,057th Birthday – Short story, demons, humor

The denizens sent from Hell to torment the living don’t have horns, bat wings and they certainly don’t fucking sparkle. They prey on humans in a much more clandestine manner. On a demon spawn’s 1,057th birthday she goes out on the Las Vegas city strip. Ready to hunt for men. Literally dressed to kill.

Thank you Dark Dossier Magazine for publishing my short, spooky story, “1,057th Birthday.”

Top 10 Books on Writing

Below are the top ten books from Best Books on Writing – Recommendations from 36 articles, Barack Obama, Bill Gates, Elon Musk and 53 others. (Read This Twice).

TOP TEN BOOKS ON WRITING

(Sorted by most recommended)

On Writing by Stephen King

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr.

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

On Writing Well by William Zinsser

Save The Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need by Blake Snyder

Story by Robert McKee

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron

Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass

Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell

RELATED LINKS

Best Books on Writing – Recommendations from 36 articles, Barack Obama, Bill Gates, Elon Musk and 53 others. (Read This Twice)

Reddit Thread on Top 100 Books

New Dune Trailer!

The new Dune movie (based on Frank Herbert’s 1965 “Dune”) is slated to come out December 18th, 2020. 

So SOMETHING good will happen in 2020. 

Denis Villeneuve is the director. He also directed Blade Runner 2049 and Arrival. 

The movie will have big name actors such as Jason Momoa and Oscar Isaac. 


READ MORE BELOW: 

Dune 2020 Characters Cast Plot Explained  (Polygon)

3 Reasons Why Dune 2020 is Nothing Like Other Dunes (Inverse)

Dune (IMDb)

Citizen Standing – Short Fiction on Citizen Scores

What would it be like if a society had “citizen scores” in addition to “credit scores?” The government develops a number to evaluate their judgement of your character as a person. This number governs every aspect of your life.

I decided to write a short cyberpunk story about a fictional society that is run by citizen scores and apps. It got published in The Weird and Whatnot Magazine. 

You can read it here!

Writers Be Aware – #PitMad is Today!

What is #PitMad you may ask? 

#PitMad is the original twitter pitch event, where writers tweet a 280-character pitch for their completed, polished, unpublished manuscripts. Agents and editors make requests by liking/favoriting the tweeted pitch.

I’ll include the description from pitchwars

“Every unagented writer is welcome to pitch. All genres/categories are welcomed.

#PitMad occurs quarterly. Upcoming dates are:

  • March 5, 2020 (8AM – 8PM EDT)
  • June 4, 2020 (8AM – 8PM EDT)
  • September 3, 2020 (8AM – 8PM EST)
  • December 3, 2020 (8AM – 8PM EST)

Don’t favorite friends’ tweets. The agents will be requesting by favoriting tweets, and more favorites can make it hard for those with requests to see all of their faves/likes. RT or Quote-RT to show your support. Do NOT use the hashtag when quote RTing – Keep the hashtag clean so agents can navigate it easily.

Be respectful and courteous to each other, and especially to the industry professionals. If you do see abuse, please report it to Twitter or notify one of the hosts of the event.

Thank you for your interest, and happy pitching!”

READ MORE HERE