The First Draft

First Draft

Once you conceive an idea of a story in your mind, the next important thing is to create 75,000 words or so of entertaining fiction. You can start writing with only the kernel of an idea. The kernel will guide you till you write the last chapter. Or you can plot the novel well in advance with proper events that take place in your story.

Plotters will plan and write the story events before writing the first word of the novel. And pantsers are known to write with their seats of the pants, writing with some sense of freedom. Both plotters and pantsers will reach their end of the novel, but the quality of the story depends on how well the novel is written.

Write events, scenes, dialogues, and descriptions. Let the words flow from your mind and hands in the first draft. Write whatever comes to your mind. But write.

It’s okay to skip the scene as you’re writing and add it later when you feel comfortable writing it. Use your imagination to turn that initial draft into a complete story. Make sure that you complete the first draft before you rewrite or edit.

First drafts have a lot of errors and problems. Writers need not worry about its weaknesses. It is allowed to be lacking. But it’s not allowed to remain that way. The first draft is just a beginning which means there is more. You don’t need to be ashamed of it and don’t need to show it to others. The first draft is allowed to be messy, bloated and full of loopholes. It’s allowed to be too much and too little at the same time. The first draft is meant to rip apart and reform it; to change it and to mangle it.

Give yourself something to with a first draft and then go to work. Tackle the deep and wide tasks of rewriting and editing.




Fiction Elements

Know the fiction elements before you start writing your novel

Your story should contain all the fiction elements in it. An idea can be a single line, but that idea is changed into a four hundred pages manuscript through fiction elements. You need to select a proper setting, build the characters, and progress the plot to come out with a good story.

So what are the fiction elements?

It consists of Setting, Theme, Character, ConElements of Fictionflict, Plot and Point of view.

Your story must have all the elements balanced in it to make it a perfect piece. You need to know how best you can manipulate, and how best they can play off one another to create memorable stories.

Here is the brief description of each of the fiction elements:

Setting: The place or surrounding where your story is set. It’s a locality where your characters interact with each other, and progress the plot ahead.

Theme: It’s a subject on which the story is based. For example, the theme in the frozen is true love and protecting someone who is in danger.

Character: They are the fictional character or persons who interact in your story, and move the plot ahead.

Conflict: Conflict is the tension built up in the story. Without conflict, one will lose the interest level of the reader.

Plot: It’s a story structure or blue print which you create before you start writing the sentences. Some writers plot the novel before hand while others simply write (called as pantsers)

Point of View: It’s a narrator’s position in relationship with the story told. It can be of first person or third person point of views.

So what’s your experience in using these set of fiction elements when you wrote your novel?

Story Stuff: F Is For Foreshadowing

Chekhov’s Gun – Interesting concept!

Allison Maruska

A couple of weekends ago I finally saw Logan. And while it was very well made, it freaked me the hell out. The fact that it’s the first X-Men movie to be rated R because of extreme violence was no secret, but being an avid Marvel fan, I wanted to see it anyway.

I’m glad I did. But I don’t think I’ll see it again. I rather like blinking and kind of miss doing it.


What made it well-made was a combination of cinematic effects, characters, and unlike some superhero movies, a cohesive story. One element that stood out in Logan brings us to today’s topic in our series: foreshadowing.


Foreshadowing sets up readers/viewers for things to come. It’s what the “Chekhov’s Gun” principle is about – if something appears in the story, it should matter to the story.


Readers will sense something is important just because…

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Story Stuff: E Is For External Motivation

E for External Motivation!

Allison Maruska

Are we digging the alphabetic layout of the A to Z challenge? Sure, it’s a little Sesame Street, but we may end up with something comprehensive by the end. 😉

Anyway, welcome to day 5, where we’ll be discussing external motivation.


People (and characters) can be motivated for a number of reasons. We eat because we’re hungry. We go to work because we need money to live (and hopefully find personal fulfillment in whatever we’re doing). We fight to win. Pretty much everything we do has either external or internal motivations behind them.

External (or extrinsic) motivations are things we do for a reward outside ourselves. Kids do chores for an allowance. They play soccer to get a trophy. They study to pass the class.

This post digs deeper into the idea:

“Extrinsic motivation refers to our tendency to perform activities for known external rewards, whether they be tangible…

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Story Stuff: D Is For Dialogue

Interesting: D is for Dialogue

Allison Maruska

Welcome to Day 4 of our story-oriented Blogging A to Z challenge. Today, we’ll be picking apart dialogue, which feels like it should be easy, doesn’t it?


Here’s the thing: dialogue can make or break a story.

No pressure, though.

Good dialogue weaves seamlessly into the narrative. Bad dialogue…

Well, bad dialogue makes readers close the book. Or in the case of me, throw the kindle.

Dialogue has a lot of jobs to do. On the surface, it shows two or more characters interacting. It should also reveal character traits, move the plot, and offer subtext and foreshadowing.

Oh, and it can’t be weighed down and boring.

And it should imitate actual speech, meaning there won’t be all complete sentences. It shouldn’t be “on the nose,” where the character says exactly what they mean. Like this:

“I have a problem with women because my mother abandoned me when I was eight. She…

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Story Stuff: B Is For Best Friends

Good choice – B for best friend!

Allison Maruska

In the first day of our series, we talked about something every good protagonist needs: agency. Today, we’ll talk about something else many can’t do without: best friends.


Or coworkers, or spouses, or roommates . . . you get the idea. The sidekicks.

In Young Adult novels, the best friend is an important character – at times more important than the protagonist himself. The BFFs support, challenge, teach, and provide comic relief. Best friends are great for providing drama, if needed. In thinking of different types of sidekicks, the best friend is often a foil, providing contrast to our protagonist.

However, it’s extremely easy to let the best friend fall into stereotype. I bet you can name a few: the flamboyant one, the nerdy one, and the promiscuous one come to mind. In YA, the protag is often studious while the best friend likes to party (though I’ve…

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Story Stuff: A Is For Agency

Interesting stuff!

Allison Maruska

Welcome to the first Blogging from A to Z challenge post! We start our series with the reason most stories exist – character agency.

AGreat, now my characters need an agent too. Not so, aspiring writer (and for the record, you may not need one either, but we’ll save that for a different post).

Simply put, character agency is how your character earns his keep in the story. Characters need motivations and goals – mash those together and you have agency. When you see the word “must” in a blurb – as in, Now, he must stop the wildebeest from stealing his mother’s earrings – odds are the character has strong agency. The character does things that directly affect, if not cause, the plot.

Chuck Wendig says this in his post on this topic:

Character agency is, to me, a demonstration of the character’s ability to make decisions and affect…

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