Monday, July 5, 2010

What a First Draft Reveals

Writing a first draft really shows up your strengths and weaknesses as a writer. Have you ever noticed how some parts come easily? It shows where your writing is strong. For instance, when I write dialogue, it seems to flow naturally. Later, I probably won't need to do much editing of the dialogue (unless it relates to the plot, of course). I'd say it's one of my writing strengths.

On the other hand, I'm not so good at establishing the setting (among other things). I've been writing so fast, concentrating on bigger things, like the story, that my characters are practically floating in the middle of nowhere. Not always a bad thing, but if your character is in a market and suddenly walks into their bedroom...well you can see how that could cause problems for the reader. My critiquers often point out that I need to add more setting details. Sometimes, they say my settings are too much of the same and need variety.

Have you ever thought about your writing strengths and weaknesses? It's useful sometimes. If you're aware of your weaknesses, you'll have a great starting point for what to tackle when it comes to revision. And it shows where you can do more reading or exercises to develop your writing skill.

WIP update:  In case you're wondering, I'm still plodding along with my first draft, with about two chapters to go. Then I'll have to go back and make sure my characters aren't floating around with no sense of time or place.


  1. I could've written this post! My dialogue is tight too. And when I first wrote, I overdid setting. Now I practically forget about it altogether, so that's what I work on during editing. I also wind up adding scenes to enhance the piece. Most writers need to take away, but not me.

  2. Ah, I thought I was the only was who had problems with setting. I never do it in the draft -- always have to go and put it in during the revision phases.

    Looks like you are in the home stretch!

  3. Make me number three in this weak setting camp (which is strange as I'm a visual person). I love dialogue. Could write (and have written) drafts in all dialogue.

  4. Ugh. I hate doing descriptions. I'm terrible at them. But I LOVE action scenes. This is such a good point that you make. Because usually I don't have to 'fix' a lot in my action scene sections and now I know why!


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