Saturday, 5 November 2011

Just write the words!

So It's November and that means NaNoWriMo.

This year I'm mentoring 6 newbies and being a 'precense' in the chat room. I'm getting asked a lot of questions about peoples works and I'm finding more and more that I'm answering them the same way every time. But these questions aren't just limited to NaNo work, they come up time and time again with a lot of writers. So here, for you're assistance is my answer to just about every issue you will ever have when writing a first draft:

JUST WRITE THE WORDS!

Seriously.

Should my book have a prologue? - Doesn't really matter where you start it just start it and write the words.
Should I name my chapter 'x' or 'y' - Doesn't really matter, you can edit it later. Just write the chapter.
Can I mention 'this'? - An agent will give you a definite answer when you get that far, for now just write it and worry about it later.
Should my epilogue be from the perspective of 'z' or 'w'? - Which feels better to you right now? Go with that and you can always use it as an outline and edit it later.
How should my character respond to 'that'? - How should I know? Write something, you can edit it later if you think it's wrong then.

I plotted and planned my first NaNo novels to an almost OCD, level this year I'm just writing in 2000 word chunks and not really caring how it turns out. The section I'm working on right now, for example, is completely rubbish, I know that. But it is words and it does give me something to work with later. And that is all that actually matters at this stage.

Editing is for after the first draft is done. So if you're thinking 'Should I change this?' and you're not done yet, I'm going to go with 'no' as my answer. Mark it if you like but don't touch it till you've finished writing everything. Seriously, inner editors should be banned completely from first drafts.



And yes, I may be a little fed up with people thinking they need to get the first draft absolutely perfect, you can't so stop trying, just write the words and edit it later.