Drafting a Novel

After planning a novel, it’s time to write the first draft. This can be done by hand, in a word processing document, or with novel writing software. I use the free software yWriter. The advantage with novel writing software is that it can help you organize important information on characters, settings, and scenes.

For Book of the North, I transferred each scene directly from yWriter to the website after every writing session. The scenes posted here are the raw unedited version of the novel. I then consolidated the first six chapters into a manuscript and sent it to Nina Munteanu, a talented novelist and editor.

Even though I have a Master’s  in English Literature, that distinction does not mean I bleed words of perfection. Quite the contrary. This was my first long-form project. Writing a novel is not the same as writing poetry or a short story.  With short-form projects, writers usually work with one major image or scene. In a novel, writers are piecing together scene after scene. Each scene needs to be fully developed and transition smoothly from one to the next. The first draft doesn’t always flow that way.

When a writer sits down to write, the objective is to just keep writing. I often skimmed through scenes that were still unclear in my mind. Transitions were sometimes rough. I don’t consider this a failing. After all, it was the rough draft. The point of a rough draft is to just write words. I knew I would have the opportunity to clean it up later, adding details and smoothing transitions. That’s where Nina came in. Since this was my first novel, she pointed out weak spots and tightened sentence structure. Her feedback was invaluable!

If you love books, or you’re thinking of writing your own novel, you can take a look at the original manuscript with Nina’s mark-ups. If you would like to contact Nina about her editing or coaching services, check out her website at ninamunteanu.me.


3 Comments on “Drafting a Novel”

  1. Jenn January 14, 2016 at 12:43 pm #

    YES! Sometimes you need to just write, even when the details aren’t fleshed out yet. Just keep writing.

    • Tricia M Foster January 15, 2016 at 1:14 pm #

      You’re so right, Jenn. This story keeps evolving as I write and re-write.

  2. Ashley Taylor January 17, 2016 at 11:08 am #

    I would love to try to write a novel! This post is inspiring.

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