So Monday’s Musing on First Drafts today, and all the confusion they can cause an author.
You know what I’m talking about. Things like character inconsistencies, repetitious scenes, phrases or action. Or your character’s musing on back-story and background so much that a reader is bored to tears and wants to toss your masterpiece before even finishing. Plot holes the size of the Grand Canyon, and endings wrapped up so near they leave no room for surprise.
We’ve all been there. And this week, I’m shining the spotlight on fellow author Janice Hardy’s post “First Look at a First Draft” at Fiction University’s http://blog.janicehardy.com
Hardy breaks it down like this:
Step One: For every scene, ask yourself four questions:
- What is the point of view character (protagonist) trying to do?
- What goes wrong?
- What does the point of view character (protagonist) do about it?
- Why does this matter?
For me, the Why is key! If your characters don’t have a why, your readers probably wont care! Got to answer this biggie first!
Step Two: Once you have all your scenes down, read through your list and see how the story flows.
I use flash cards for this. 3 ‘ 5 cards, front and back for each scene. That’s it. Then I shuffle them and see if they make sense on their own, as well as in order. If they’ don’t, it’s time to re-juggle.
Step Three: Take note of anything that feels repetitious.
I tend to repeat, a lot (a lot – haha.) Not on purpose, but it happens. The same types of actions or musings, albeit in different words. Got to check your script over for this bad boy – a sure-fire way to bore your readers!
Step Four: Look at your overall character motivations.
This goes back to step #1 and ‘the why.’ Got to keep your story stakes moving and for that, your people have to have motivations. Like Moses parting the Red Sea, if your character’s people are desperate to cross lest they drown, then you’re right on target! Give em’ reasons for everything they do!
That’s it for today peeps, and another shout out to Janice Hardy at Fiction University http://blog.janicehardy.com for all the great tips!
It does make a difference and it’s fun to see it start to come together. But it can be very frustrating. I’m working on something now that I like but it’s way too long and it’s killer trying to cut it down.
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Yeah, so agree with the ‘nightmare’ scenario! I’m just now undergoing my first crack in the editing process. Looking forward to seeing what a difference it’ll make!
All good suggestions, Lisa. My first drafts (and several after that) are a nightmare. The story comes together in the editing.
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