Thursday, July 18, 2013

Two Writing Tips That Will Help You Draft Your Novel

Well, today is the last day of my blog tour.  Today's reviewer loved the suspense of Ashes Ashes but had a few things to say about the romance.  Want to read what she thought?  Click here

I'd really like to thank everyone who participated.  I loved meeting new friends and reading the reviews.

Last night I was getting ready to sprint and I realized there are two things that are really helping me sit down and breeze through this first draft.

First of all, like I talked about last week, I have a loose outline.  I had someone ask me what my loose outline looks like, so here's the one I used for last night's sprint.

  • Bart is observing Lucy's questioning.  Brings her water.
  • Confrontation with James.
  • Questions from Colby
  • Bart scene with Attorney/Lucy
  • Bart goes to his mother's condo, Lucy's words in his ears
  • His mother reveals the secret.
  • He makes security arrangements for her.
  • He's having a hard time processing what he's just heard and everything that happened that day.

So, that's what I went off of as I was sprinting and laying down the foundation of the chapter.  As I mentioned last week, sprinting is where I can write the first layer, then go back and add more to it later.  I usually am dialogue-heavy at first, and when I revise I add in more description, body language, and setting.

Second, I did have a little personal revelation last night.  Last week, I talked about knowing where the chapter is going before you start drafting, but one thing I noticed that is really helping me with my chapter goals is to ask myself why?  Why is the character doing/acting/thinking this way?  Why does he view the world this way?  Why is this event important?  It's sort of like a little mental checklist of character motivation, and making sure each event is relevant and important in moving the story forward and carrying me to the end.  It made me write little notes in the corner to make sure I'm meeting my character goals and answering those 'why' questions for my readers---which will add to my word count and has already given me ideas for future chapters.  Win/win!

Both of these tips are helping me get through my first draft in record time.  What helps you draft?


Kerrin said...

great tips Julie, I haven't don't sprinting before but i'd love to give it a try.
Asking why? is a great way to ensure you are keeping true to characters and your story theme.

Julie Coulter Bellon said...

Thanks, Kerrin! We'd love to have you join us for a sprint. We do it on the blog every Wednesday night if you're interested. Really motivational, I think. :)

Shirley said...

Your advice just gave me some insight into a problem I've been having. Thanks so much. Perhaps one day I'll be brave enough to join a sprint with you. In the meantime, I enjoy being inspired by your words.

Debra Erfert said...

Kerrin, Shirley, if I can be humiliated by writing a fraction of the words in the same time as Julie, and still show up the next week, please, don't feel afraid to join in.

For this week's sprint, I did something a little different than write straight dialogue or narrative on my current work in progress. I guess what I did was do some outlining, and get some basic scenes down before I forgot them. Of course, they won't stay as written. To say they're rough would be a huge understatement. But during this 45 minute rambling, (I was late getting started) I was discovering my characters' motivations--the whys for their actions. How serendipitous that you would speak of this very subject. The why is very much as important as what your characters are doing. If you can't reason it out, reasonably, then your story will fall flat, no matter how exciting the actions scenes may be.

Thanks, Julie, for having your sprints. I wouldn't be delving into "Becoming Wildcreek" again so soon if it wasn't for you. This historical "old west" romance is that itch I'm just beginning to scratch.

Prasant Saxsena said...

I am very thakful to you!! Your advice just provided me some insight into a problem I've been having. Thanks so much. possibly one day I'll be audacious sufficient to join a sprint with you. In the meantime, I relish being motivated by your words.

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Tracy Krauss said...

I like the idea of a quit list. I do that sometimes too

Julie Coulter Bellon said...

Shirley, you should definitely join us for a sprint. It's not about what anyone else's word count is, it's just a motivational tool for each individual. I'd love to have you.

Debra, you're amazing. I'm just glad to have someone to sprint with every week!

Tracy, good to know I'm not the only one. :)

Anonymous said...

Just finished Ashes, Ashes and enjoyed it - left a review on amazon - wondering04.


Julie Coulter Bellon said...

Thanks, Heather! I'm so glad you enjoyed it. Your review made my whole day!