How We Write Wednesdays: The ONLY WAY to Draft Your Novel

As promised, today’s the start of our all-in, sure-fired, do it THIS WAY month of novel drafting instruction. Because if you don’t do it THIS way, you’ll fail. What way? YOUR WAY.


one way

Yeah, this month’s blog courses won’t be any more straight-forward than the last three (which are summarized at the bottom of the post). Jenni’s starting today with a great discussion of her drafting method. So NOT my method, because she’s still all about spreadsheeting and outlining when she draft writes, and geeky me can’t let myself go there while in this “in-between” creative place.

In between planning and rewriting, I have to stop thinking. No, I don’t actually turn my brain off. But I do have to tone down the analytical volume of my cognitive thinking, so that juicy imagination takes over. I’ve tried it Jenni’s way. And, I know you’ll find this hard to believe, her very structured method of drafting doesn’t work for me. Spreadsheets and outlines are like crack for a mind like mine. I’d be hitting that pipe all day long, while  never giving free rein to those characters and settings and turning points I planned for.  The creativity that comes second to my nature, behind the drive to understand EVERYTHING before I write anything, would never take the wheel.

Jenni and I aren’t polar opposites in our process. We share many of the same drafting techniques–and I’ll get to them next week when it’s my turn. BUT, we each have our own individual method. No matter how many times we talk and compare notes and critique for each other, we’re never tempted to trade in our individual approaches to writing story for the other’s. Because doing exactly what she does would stall my creativity, and vice versa. We have to understand and trust our own writing strengths and weaknesses and own the drafting approach that gets us to the end of that “ugly” first draft with the best story we’ve ever written.

And so do you.

stop signs

The only GUARANTEED method of drafting success is your method. Your way. And no one can tell you what that is. You have to earn that knowledge on your own.

No cheat sheet. No quick and easy answers. No advancing to go without fighting your way through the drafting fire until you’re ready to collect your $200. Drafting is an individual battle. It’s your creative mind taking over, and your inspiration and imagination and view of the world, and your way will never be mine. Or Jenni’s. Or the next writing coach you listen to.

As we’ve said countless times in HoWW, anyone who tells you there’s an easy, no-hassle method for doing any part of this writing gig, is selling you a line of BS. The only secret I can give you is to listen to all the constructive advice you can find, apply what might be a good fit, refine techniques as you discover what does and doesn’t work for you, and come up with your own method. How you plan and rewrite and draft…

Today, enjoy learning more about Jenni’s way. Dive back in here next Wednesday, and I’ll share more about how hopeless I felt drafting until I challenged myself to study and improve my own process. Then the rest of May will be about drilling deeper into some key facets of the creative process that must rule when your story is in between your planning and rewriting.

Until then, enjoy some review on us!




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One Response to “How We Write Wednesdays: The ONLY WAY to Draft Your Novel”

  1. M.V. Freeman says:

    I agree…you have to learn this on your own with the information you gather. For me, if I have to break down every scene, plot it all out on spreadsheets–I vapor lock. I can’t see the forest for the trees.
    But I cannot just wing it either–I need an over arcing goal. I need to know my characters and have a good CP to work with.

    But I learned this all the hard and painful way. I will follow these blogs with interest because I find that even though someone writes or completes a draft differently–there is always something I can use.

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