3 Lines That Will Help You Write A Better First Draft

Recently, I discussed the six questions you should try to answer before you start your first draft. This week I want to discuss question
two – tell your story in three lines. 

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
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

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 in Johannesburg.

 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


    Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write – Write to communicate

    This article has 0 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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