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  • adamjoseph2019

Eight easy steps to writing your first draft

1 – Concept. This is the fun part where an amazing idea comes to you out of nowhere and you know that this would be a totally cool story. When the concept came to me for my first novel of an epic fantasy series; The beginning of the end, I could see something changing shape in a piece of glass. I thought that was really cool, and I imagined why would something need to shapeshift in such an urgent way, the storyline unfolded from here.

BTW, I write all of my first drafts by hand.

2 – Ideas. Virtually straight after the concept comes the ideas surrounding the story, I usually spend up to two weeks just on writing down ideas. When they come, write everything down, even if it sounds silly at the time. It is better to throw excess ideas away than to kick yourself for losing something that would have brought your story to the next level. As the ideas come to you write them down in numerical order, and again don’t worry about order.


Random Idea about plot


Random Idea about protagonist


Random Idea for world building


Random Idea for conflict

3 – Characters. Sometimes one or a few of the characters come to you with the concept. You will need to have a separate page for each character and write down basic details about them, you can always add to their page as you write and they come to life.

Treat your characters like a pebble that you would drop into a pond that causes ripples across the surface, you want the actions of your characters to affect others and help push the story forward.

Below are the two main characters from my first novel The beginning of the end; a picture can say a thousand words, keep and eye open for any pictures on sites like Pinterest that could give more depth to your characters, or give you an insight to why they are doing what they do..

4- - Plot. By this stage you will have a vague notion of where your story is going and where it will end. Don’t worry about this too much. On a separate piece of paper write a sentence summary for each chapter under alphabet sequence; for example:

A – First chapter summery

B – Second chapter summery

C – Third chapter summery

Ideas, characters and plot can take up to a few weeks to finish, the important thing is not to rush, the more you rush, the more mistakes you will make, you will know when you’re ready.

5- Map out your work. I usually draw a map for my story as a reference, and arrange my desk so that the map and plot are on my left, and the characters and ideas are on the right, with my writing pad in front of me. Work out what type of world your story will be set in and where your characters will travel.

As a fan of fantasy I always love referring to the map at the front of the novel. When I had the basic idea for my epic fantasy series, I drew the map as a guide for myself, and later had it professionally drawn for the readers. I believe having a map helps the reader become immersed quicker as they follow the characters journey through the story.

6 – Adding ideas and characters to plot. Start with a new page and write the summary sentence for the first chapter with A as the prefix, once you have this, add the numbers which represent the random ideas that will correlate with this chapter, then continue with the following chapter summaries.

As you write each chapter you will be able to look at the summery and the ideas that are numbered. Example below

​Chapter summary

​Numbered ideas

​A - Chapter 1

​12 - 5 - 2 - 7

​B - chapter 2

​3 - 11 - 13 - 4

​C - chapter 3

​9 - 6 - 17 - 8

By adding the ideas to the chapter summaries, your chapters will come to life.

With the characters I use a table to keep track of them, because in my series I have twenty-nine in total. Because I have a lot of POV’s I need to keep track of where I last left a certain character, this table allows me to go back and read what they did last, so that everything flows.

























7 – Let it be crap. When I first started writing, the biggest hurdle for me was to let things go and stop trying to be perfect with everything I wrote. This proved to be one of the hardest things to do, because as creative people, we expect too much from ourselves.

Believe it or not; the first draft is meant to be crap, but that’s ok, this gives you some cool ideas and a great head start for the next draft. You will find that as you continue to write, your brain will go into overdrive with thoughts and ideas for your novel which will amaze you. While I had almost finished writing the first draft, I realised several mistakes I had made earlier on, I just wrote them down in notes for the next draft and continued writing.

So, trust me on this, there may be times where you want to walk away from your WIP, but this is your heart and soul that you started for a reason, keep going.

8 – Set deadlines and time away from distractions. As soon as I would have a concept for a story, I would wait until everything was set up then give myself three months to complete my novel.

Each morning I would wake up and picture a certain amount of work that needed to be done that day, as soon as I came home from work I would go to my room and become immersed in the lives of my characters.

There were many times where people invited me out, or wanted to do things with me. However, you need the will to stick to your time with your story, otherwise a day off here and there will turn into a half written novel and long-term regrets.

This is how I wrote my novel The beginning of the end.

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