Helpful Tips

Tip of the Day: In a first draft, write it all down… Info dump, here we come.

You will see a significant about of advice out there about how much backstory and other information should be included in a story. These articles are intended for the editing phases of your writing. During that first draft, possibly even during that second draft, include it all. If it comes to your mind, get it on paper. Who cares if it’s irrelevant, just get it down. As a writer, you need to know everything, so info dump like crazy in those early drafts. You will edit this information out and bring it back to the bare essentials later.

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  1. I love this. Thank you. I’m working on a first draft, and I am so stuck. I feel like none of it is working, that what I am writing is irrelevant. I need to keep reminding myself that I can change things and add or subtract stuff later.

    • Remember when you are writing a first draft, you are actually writing the story for yourself. Your first draft is really your notes needed to formulate your full manuscript. Give yourself permission to put it all into that first draft. Info dump like crazy if you must.

      • Do you still keep parts of your first draft in the finished product? In my first novel, I’ve kept a lot of scenes the same, or very similar, to how they were in the first draft, though I did completely rewrite and add other scenes.

        • To answer your question: yes, parts of my first drafts do find their way into the final draft, yet other parts don’t. It comes down to what helps to propel the story forward. Here’s the ironic thing: the first draft of my first novel actually started with my main character waking up from her nightmare. At some point along the line, I had written that nightmare out in full. Final draft, and that nightmare scene has been removed and I’ve gone back to my main character waking up from the nightmare. (That nightmare scene, I’ve turned into a short story.) The point is, if you’re a pantser-type writer like me, most of your ideas just come to you. You need to get them down on paper while the iron is still hot. Sometimes, I must write the scene, even though I know it won’t make the final cut, just to get the scene out of my head so I can move on. During your first editing phase, you’ll see what is dribble and an mind dump. First drafts are really you writing the story for yourself, getting it straightened out in your head.

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