Finishing your First Draft - Day One
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.
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
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:
- How to Start a Chapter
- How Long Should a Chapter Be?
- How Many Scenes are in a Chapter?
- How Many Chapters are in a Book?
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…
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!
Doug from Dabble
Book marketing. Those two innocuous words instill fear and loathing into the hearts of so many writers. You just want to write your books and have them sell themselves. Why do you have to tell people about it? Well, Susan, because you do. I know you want to write, but if your goal is to write, publish, and make money from your books, then you’re going to have to find a way to make them visible. Thousands of new titles are uploaded to Amazon every single day. Millions of books are being published every year, and no matter how good your story is, without marketing, there’s not much chance very many people will find it.
What kind of writer are you? Are you the sort who writes a meticulous outline that tips into the five digits or the type who sits down in front of a blank sheet of paper and lets the words pour out of you like a runaway train? Did you know there are specific terms for this kind of writing? Writers will come up with words for anything, I swear. Plotters are the first type of writer. They like to have detailed outlines that tell them exactly where their story is going. Pantsers are the other type of writer, which is kind of a weird name, but the term was coined by Stephen King (a famous pantser) to describe writing by the seat of your pants. Cute, eh? There is no right or wrong way to write your book, and I’m going to repeat this so many times. The right way is the way that works for you.
Dystopian fiction is one of the darker subgenres of science fiction and fantasy. It takes us into dark, foreboding worlds, where oppression and bleak landscapes are the norm. Books like 1984 by George Orwell, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and Brave New World by Aldous Huxley have become classics that shine a light on political corruption, environmental disaster, and societal collapse.Why do we love these stories? Maybe it's because dystopian fiction allows us to explore worst-case scenarios, to grapple with the idea that the world we know and love could be lost forever. It's a way for us to confront our fears and anxieties about the future, to see what could happen if we continue down a certain path.