3 Lines That Will Help You Write A Better First Draft


It is a great test for your story idea. Whether you call it a ‘pitch slam’ or an ‘elevator pitch’ this forces you to consider your whole story. Try writing it as if you were finished with the manuscript. This is something you will rewrite several times, but try to write one before you start.

It does not matter if you want to self-publish or never publish, this exercise will help you. It is hard, don’t expect it to be anything else and remember it will change. I just want to get you going.  Just as you would approach an agent or editor you should try to wrap up your idea in a paragraph. Here are some points you can consider:

  1. You need a title. Write your working title in big letters at the top of the page. You can even make a mock-up of your cover. It’s inspirational.
  2. Who, what and why? You need a character, start with them and the inciting moment. The inciting moment gives you a goal and that conflict will give you an antagonist.
  3. When, where and how? If you are writing sci-fi or historical fiction, this question becomes even more important, but you should pick a moment in time and then tell me how all of this is going to happen.

Consider this:

[Character’s name] + [inciting moment] + [story goal] leads to [intriguing question]

For example: Paint It Black by Janet Fitch

Josie’s boyfriend commits suicide. She wants to find out why, but that means dealing with his crazy controlling mother. Should Josie let herself be lured into a life of riches by the woman who destroyed the man she loved?

In short: Ask yourself, who wants to do what and why?

Then print it out, stick it to your wall and when in doubt go back and ask yourself if you are answering the question.

If you want to learn how to write a book, join our Writers Write course.

 by Mia Botha

If you enjoyed this post, you will love:

  1. Identify Your Protagonist And Antagonist
  2. Six Questions To Ask Before You Even Start Your First Draft
  3. How To Turn Your Messy First Draft Into Something That Resembles A Novel

This article has 4 comments

  1. Alicia

    That’s the first step of the snowflake method. I do love using that, it’s very helpful set of tools to start with. I don’t do them all but I definitely do the first few steps.

  2. K.W. McCabe

    is there some way to subscribe to your blog? I would love to get updated when you post writing tips

  3. Writers Write

    Yes, there is. Visit the home page https://writerswrite.co.za// , look at the left hand side of the page where it says Subscribe By Email and fill in your details.

  4. kausam salam

    Love this one!!! What a motivational set of suggestions. Thank you. I always enjoy your side work.

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