May 7, 2011

First Drafts

By Bonnie Harris

I never realized how dependent I’ve become on the internet and computers. My husband has had my computer and I haven’t had access to the internet when I’ve had the computer. Gotta love traveling. :) (I just have to say that the LDStorymakers Conference has been wonderful.)

This past little while I’ve been struggling through a first draft. The last few books I’ve completed it has been the revisions that caused problems. Then a few people have stated how much they hate the first draft and I couldn’t figure out what they were talking about, until now. It seems every direction I turn, a wall has effectively been built and I have to go back and figure out a way around it. It’s really thrown me for a loop.

So, as any good writer would do, I’ve turned to chocolate. :) When that didn’t fix the problem I began thinking about what I’ve heard other author’s have said about using an outline. My only problem with that is I’ve never done a real one. All through school I always wrote the paper first and then did the outline. That works until you can’t figure out where the paper is going. Since that’s

basically where I’m at, I’m wondering if any of you out there have any ideas on what an outline for a book would look like. Crazy question I know, but what I’m doing is obviously

not working.

Anyway, I ran across something Shannon Hale facebooked about sometime ago that I keep reminding myself of. She said something to the effect of, I have to remember I’m dumping sand into the sand box so I can make a beautiful castle next. To me, that means even if I write myself into a wall, I need to keep dumping in the words even if I haven’t figure out the whole outlining process or anything like that, because without words, there is no book.

I guess in a way I’m giving myself and anyone else who finds themselves wearing the shoes of a first draft road block, that this to shall pass. Keep the words flowing, even if they don’t make sense and you want to burn, throw, pulverize or beat your computer (or paper, notecards, post-

its, whatever you are using to write with). Just imagine what a beautiful sand castle you will have at the end. Happy First Draft Writing!


  1. Bonnie,
    I love the quotes. Thank you! I am still dumping sand with little walls so far.

    Best to you.

  2. I love that analogy. Thanks for sharing it. I don't write fiction, but I write out 4x6 cards, each with a main thought or ideas from my research that I think I want included in my work. Then I go through the cards and put them in a logical order...adding other cards in between with ideas that tie everything together. That gives me a general outline I can write out and add detail to. Good luck with that sand castle!

  3. I haven't published yet, except blogs of course, but I really am trying to pick up what I can. someday, I really want to write a book.

  4. I like your sand and sand castle quote and analogy. I am also trying to learn methods of outlining that work. Aprilynne Pike shared a method she learned at
    Wendy Swore showed me a method taught by Dan Wells that you can view on You Tube.
    Karen Hoover was kind enough to point me to another method. I am hoping I can learn all three. I want to learn any others. I figure the more I learn the better I can be. Hope these help you.

  5. I'm going to stand by Randy Ingermanson's Snowflake Method for planning/outlining a novel, until the day I die! I'm sure, like any method, it's not for everyone, but it's definitely worth a try. You can find it by googling it.

  6. I haven't found a technique that works for me better than deadline. The very word strikes terror in my heart and gets me going.

  7. All I can add is that isn't a *right* way or a *wrong* way to outline. Read, read, read about different methods and pick, choose, or mush together from others' ideas what feels useful to you.


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