Finishing your First Draft - Day One

Doug Landsborough
April 20, 2023

Welcome to Day One of your 10-day course to help you write your first draft!

This course will follow along with the info you read in Let’s Write a Book: A Dabble Guide to Story Craft while providing some more resources and actionable steps for you to take.

But first, congrats on starting this course and taking your writing seriously. That’s a big first step that many writers don’t even bother to take.

You rock.

But let’s get down to business. Over the next ten days, we’re going to go over everything you need to write your first draft–plus a little extra that we couldn’t fit in the book. By the time we’re done, mere mortals won’t even be able to look at you for fear of going blind. You will transcend to your ultimate writing form.

Before we get there, we need to establish some of the basics. As the basics, we want to establish:

  • The Three Fundamental Story Elements
  • Genres and Subgenres
  • Chapters

The Three Fundamental Story Elements

There is a lot that goes into your story, but the three fundamental elements are characters, plot, and theme.

Characters are the lifeblood of a story. You can have an amazing tale to tell, but it won’t come to life if there aren’t awesome characters involved in it. You need to be a master of characters to be a strong writer. We’re going to be covering characters in-depth during this course, but feel free to click here and check out all the articles we have on characters in DabbleU.

Plot is the story you’re telling. It will be filled with conflict, drive change in your characters, and hopefully live in the mind of your readers for weeks, months, or even years. We’re going to make your plot a reality.

Theme is often overlooked, especially by newer writers. A theme is the message or messages you want to send with your story. It’s the struggle of good vs. evil, how friendship conquers all, or how real life can be devastating. Your theme is what makes your plot and characters worth reading. Without a theme, your story is hollow.

Genres and Subgenres

Maybe you know what genre and subgenre you are writing in. If that’s the case, great! If it’s not, you definitely want to check out the list of genres and their key characteristics in Chapter One of Let’s Write a Book.

Genres are a critical part of writing and reading. They are like the sandbox you’re playing in as an author. More importantly, genres establish certain promises to readers looking for a particular experience.

People who want to read about orcs and fairies coexisting in modern society will pick up an urban fantasy. People who want to read a happily ever after tale of royalty will pick up historical or Victorian romance.

Writing in a genre doesn’t limit your creativity. It just lets you tell the story that both you and your readers are looking for.


While we cover chapters briefly in the book, not everyone knows all there is to know about chapters. Heck, even chapter know-it-alls might be able to learn a thing or two.

If you want to buff up your chapter knowledge, check out some of these articles:

Okay, that’s enough info being thrown at you (for now). Absorb all of this new writing goodness and, while you’re at it, take some time to tour around Dabble. There are a bunch of features that we’ll be using throughout this course, features that you have complete access to with your Dabble trial.

While you’re in there, why not set up a place to take notes and follow along with this course? Go ahead and make a new Folder under Story Notes in a new Project. Title it Book Roadmap or whatever you want–I’m not the boss of you.

In that folder, make a new Note called Day One: Initial Thoughts. Copy and paste the following into the Note, then jot down any thoughts you have about your story!

What are your initial thoughts on…

Your plot:

Your characters:

Your theme:

Your genre:

Your chapters:

Other ideas:

It should look something like this:

We’ll be adding more Notes to this Folder throughout the coming days. But for now, that’s all I’m asking of you!

Until tomorrow,

Doug from Dabble

Doug Landsborough

Doug Landsborough can’t get enough of writing. Whether freelancing as an editor, blog writer, or ghostwriter, Doug is a big fan of the power of words. In his spare time, he writes about monsters, angels, and demons under the name D. William Landsborough. When not obsessing about sympathetic villains and wondrous magic, Doug enjoys board games, horror movies, and spending time with his wife, Sarah.