Writing First Draft Woes

I believe in my last writing update I said I’d be doing these consistently again…I guess we all know what a big faced liar I am. But honestly its been hard to find a routine again, getting back into blogging and, you know, not being a hermit. It’s very difficult when I just can’t bring myself to leave the comfort of writing.

But baby steps, I’m starting to write some short stories on the side and starting the whole planning and drafting process again with my book has really helped me pull some writing advice together that I’m really excited about.

But I’m clearly not leaving my comfort zone just yet as this is going to be all about my writing and why its shit. I have written 7152 words of pure shit this week. Now I know it’s a first draft, I know it’s going to be awful; I know I should just leave it…but why can’t it be perfect now?

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When I’m writing I can just feel myself slogging, almost dragging myself along my belly to get from A to B. It just feels so heavy and clunky and just ugh. The urge to slap myself and scream ‘WRITE BETTER!’ is growing by the day. But I know I must wait this first draft out.

But there’s still that niggling feeling: What if this is the best I can do? Am I a terrible writer? What am I doing with my life?…Even though this is the fifth first draft I’ve had to sit through. It’s like winter. It always comes and yet somehow catches me off guard.

I miss editing at least when editing I jumped between genius and hack on a bungee cord. And its slow progress, was writing always this painful? I keep thinking I must be in the seventh level of Hell to be going to through this never-ending circle of drafting, editing and scrapping. Better pray number five is good enough to stick with.


Beauty Sleep

Mom with child.jxr

Pulled forward through the night,

So heavy in sleep.

Let me sleep in peace!


Pulled upwards into waking,

Slow is the mind,

And so is my patience.


Pulled up to clasp the neck.

Let me sleep you little shit!

Finally pulled back under into dream.

The New Queen

They cheer for their new crowned queen. The crowd that cascades down the mountain is showered in white confetti, the same white of her dress and veil. She is brought to her husband, tears dripping down her neck.

Be happy, the crowd chants, be pure.

A priest in blue awaiting beside her husband. From her head, he plucks her silver crown and throws it to the crowd. They scream again, passing it slowly back down the path she walked, the crowd swarming it, each person wanting to touch a piece of her.

She lets out a choke noise that turns to alarm as her priest pushes her into the claws of their king. He bites down on her in one go, crushing on her bones. As he rears up, he splatters the nearby people. They delight in smearing it across themselves. He lowers his scaled head again and growls lowly at priest.

He turns and calls out, “take the king’s next bride.”



Art created in heat,

Snakes curl and hover,

They twist and consume,

Suffocating from within.


Far off through tendrils,

A fire smoulders,

Bubbles and hisses,

Blooming in the din


They take hold of the body,

Clinging to skin like lovers

They wrap and squeeze,

Until blood is dripping from their chin


Tiger Roar

If a tiger kills a gazelle,
No cries of evil ring out.
A tiger is free from moral.
People agree this without doubt.

And yet our own is bound,
To abide by the laws of old
Why should not I yearn for the taste of blood,
Or the want to feel skin turn cold?

Oh, scream as you wish,
Cry evil if you must,
But I am an animal,
I only wish to feed my lust

Planning: Planning Methods (Part 2)


I’ve talked about planning before and for many people you may already have your own personal methods. And that’s the beauty of it, you’ll learn as you go what works for you. Here are just a couple of starting ideas:

Draft zero, or the pantser’s compromise

You know it may be shocking, but you don’t actually need to plan. I know it’s odd but for some not planning is much better than trying to.

You can write a rough draft zero, it won’t be as coherent as a first draft as you’ll be doing it blind, but it will be more extensive and detailed than any plan could be.

You should try to write it quickly and in as few sitting as possible so you are less likely to forget the subplots and ideas you have branching off. Of course, given it isn’t an actual draft, ideas can be written only in notes if this helps you plan it out better.


Beat Sheet

Write down each beat of your story in every scene. This is a very in-depth way of planning: it’s essentially writing your story out without writing it.


Character Arcs

We focused on scenes, chapters and structure plans but planning by your main character’s arc almost helps to plot your story, (the main events should surround them). They go from A to Z and you need to plot what happens in between.

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Story Bible

This…this is a long one. I would never trust myself to write a story bible as I’d probably would procrastinate by planning it forever. If you feel the same, then this isn’t for you. But a story bible contains everything from the plot to character descriptions and worldbuilding. It can become larger than your own novel, but with it at your side you’ll be properly prepared.


The synopsis

The synopsis is essentially a mini first draft. If you don’t feel confident to separate your story plan into scenes or even chapters, then this is the planning method for you.

Now some say you just need to do the synopsis that you would send off to any agent or publisher (which of course you will need). However, I believe you need much more than this, you need the little in-betweens and the subplots that are not important enough to mention in a query letter but are very important for planning out your story.

And remember, with any of these planning methods it is perfectly fine, to leave plotlines half finished with notes to come back to later and to try out little experiments in your plan that you are unsure if you’ll keep or not.


Index Cards

My dad uses index cards for everything when it comes to planning books. Everything from listing characters to pinning scenes to corkboards and identifying emotional shifts. It is why my childhood was spent finding random index cards saying things like blended elf smoothie and attic accordion death.


Plan As You Go

You don’t have to plan everything before you write everything. You can write a scene and then plan the next.


Further Reading