Sunday, 27 January 2013

Guest Author Jade Varden: Don’t Rush into Writing the First Draft

Welcome to the first Guest blog here on my blog. It's written by author Jade Varden and it's all about Writing a First Draft of a story. Check out below the amazing article she wrote with some good tips out there!

Write now, edit later. This is a common piece of advice that's very freely dispensed to writers on forums, through social media and in helpful blog posts that offer advice. But sometimes, it's the worst possible advice a writer could get. It's true that writing your first draft is a little bit like vomiting words on a page, but if you actually want to end up with a workable final draft you can't just spit sentences out at random. 

Yes, authors, there is stuff you've got to do before you ever sit down to write that first draft. I know, because I've learned the lesson the hard way...many times over. 

Just Write It

Just get the words on the page, and worry about the rest later. I've seen this piece of advice parroted everywhere, and I've suffered for it. Because I've tried that...and I've learned that it doesn't really work. 

On paper, the advice makes sense. Writers are supposed to write, so just sit down and write. Right? Wrong. If you don't have an idea of what you're going to write about, you're just wasting your time. There's stuff you need to do before you start writing that first draft. If you don't, you're liable to get stuck, or come out with a book that's not at all well-crafted and filled with weird plot holes.

It's sort of like getting in a car and just driving, without paying any attention to street signs. You don't have any idea where you're going to end up -- maybe a luxury neighborhood, maybe in a dangerous area, maybe in the country, maybe in the factory district. But one thing is certain: you're going to take a bunch of unnecessary turns along the way, maybe even run into a few dead-end streets. You might backtrack, and cover some of the same streets twice. Why? Because you don't know where the heck you're going!

And you'll end up doing the same sort of crap in your book if you just sit down and start to write for writing's sake. The ultimate goal is to end up with a tightly-written, exciting plot that hangs together and follows a plottable course from Chapter 1 to The End. Going in a bunch of random directions on the way there is only going to waste the reader's time, and yours when you're trying to edit all that mess later on. 

So don't just write it. Build your first draft foundation first


Every book starts with a single idea. Some writers think of a setting first, or maybe a situation. Some might be inspired by the idea of a character, or a crime, or maybe even a romance. I almost always think of the end of a book, and then figure out how it happened by trying to work backwards. No matter what your idea may be, before you write it you need to figure out a few things.
  • Outline: This should be one of the first pieces you create when you're thinking about writing a book. The outline can be as detailed or as vague as you like. Its main purpose is to help you define some sort of structure for your story. Start at the beginning of the book and go to the end to create an outline, thinking about your book in broad strokes. Some writers like to outline by chapter, writing a short summary of what should happen in each until they reach the end. 
  • Characters: You've got to know who the main characters are, and you've got to figure out their names. How old are they, what do they look like, and what are their main characteristics? If you don't think about this now, it's just going to become a huge stumbling block when you attempt to write the first draft. I like to make a character list for each of my books in a separate document, so I can access it whenever I like.
  • Setting: Figure out where your characters are. Know your setting before you start writing, because it will come up in the course of the first draft. You can't picture the world your characters live in if you have no idea where it is. 
Once you have all your fundamentals covered, you're in great shape. You're ready to write your first draft, so go ahead! You now have everything you need to create a really good one.

About the Author

Jade Varden writes young adult novels for teen readers. When she’s not crafting mysteries in her books, Jade also blogs practical writing tips for authors who self-publish. Jade currently makes her home in Louisville, Kentucky, where she enjoys reading and reviewing indie books by other self-published authors. Follow her on Twitter @JadeVarden. Visit Jade’s blog at for reviews, writing tips, self-publishing advice and everything else you ever wanted to know about reading and writing books.

Jade on Amazon || Jade on Goodreads


  1. Awesome post! I'm not a writer, just a really huge fan of reading, but it's still really nice to read about the process of writing.

  2. Thank you so much for your comment, it made my day!

    I have to admit that writing does scare me a little and that's why I never end up just writing one single word!


  3. This post is really awesome, AND interesting above all! I'm myself, not a big writer, but as a book/story lover, I like to know how writers usually work!
    And the tips were really good too! They seem indeed to be important when you start writing a book!