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Indie author: Writing the first draft

Today I'm talking all about writing the first draft which, let's face it, without this first draft you are pretty much buggered if your aim is to write a book!

Now, here's the thing, there is no right way to write a first draft, and there's no wrong way either. (Except for, y'know, not writing one at all. That's *definitely* the wrong way to do it.) For example, I used to write all my first drafts long-hand, which is why The Dirtifcation of Tabitha-Rose still isn't out because I've yet to type up the ruddy first draft, let alone edit it. (I'm getting there though, and forcing myself to get it typed up, once and for all!)

Since Lost, however, I write the first draft straight to screen. It took me a while to get used to writing this way, but it saves me a lot of time now that I don't have to type up my first draft. You might prefer writing it by hand, typing it straight on to the computer, or you might even dictate it using speech-recognition software. (I tried that once - disaster!)

Some people go with the flow and write, write, write whatever comes into their heads - that used to be me - whilst others plan meticulously and create detailed character descriptions, write extensive chapter breakdowns or, maybe, even turn to Pinterest to create an inspiration board for their book. Again, no two writers are the same, just as no two books are the same.

I never used to plan anything, yet at the moment I find that writing one sentence for each chapter really helps me to get a sense of where my story is going. I usually do this for the next five chapters I need to write, though often find that what I thought would happen in Chapter Six... well, Chapter Six has just become Chapter Sixteen(!) as the plot twists and turns because of ideas popping in my head as I get into the flow of writing the story.

I also used start at the beginning and write straight through to the end: I'd write Chapter One, followed by Chapter Two, and so forth. I've found, however, that I'm jumping all over with my fourth book. Sure, sometimes I might write five chapters in a row, but then I'll write a scene that's popped in my head that happens towards the end of the book, and then I'll write a chapter that will appear in the middle of the book. As long as you get those words down though, that's all that matters - you can fix the chapter order later on during the editing process.

Since my books all inhabit the same world and characters jump around and pop up in my other books, I have a timeline detailing where everyone is and what they are up to at that time. For example, I wanted Geli to make an appearance in Lost, but at that point in time she was in South Africa, not London, in her book - an impossible inclusion! The more books I write, the harder it gets to include other characters and to make sure that they are in the right place - as I love having overlapping characters, a timeline is definitely something I need to be able to write the first draft.

You might love writing your first draft, or you might absolutely hate it: At the moment I sit firmly in the hate camp, and I'm all about the editing process... but, you might have guessed it, with Kept and Geli Voyante's Hot or Not I loved writing their first drafts and hated editing them! The only way I can get to my (current) much-loved editing stage though is by getting the bones of the story down in the first draft - without that, I can't flesh it out in the editing stage.

However you write your first draft, the main thing is to get it done. Like I said before, without it you're not going to have a book, and that's the thing you *do* need if you want to be an author! What's your first draft process like?

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