Without a first draft, you’ll never have a published story or novel. Bottom line.
So, the first “rule” for writing a short story or book is to write a first draft until it’s all done.
FINISHED FIRST DRAFT
Some people love to plot in advance, while others like to wing it. That debate is one for another blog post.
Pick your own way, then get to it. Maybe you plot extensively, then find out a third of the way through that it’s not going to work. Either fix the plot outline, or just plow ahead. Or maybe you love the exhilaration of sitting down every day not knowing where your story is going and just write. But you get half-way through, and you don’t know what should happen next. It might not hurt to take a few days to figure that out (in other words do some plotting) before continuing.
Writing is not a cut-and-dried process, obviously. So, do what works.
But get that first draft written. Don’t go over and over Page 1 or Chapter 1 until it’s perfect. For one thing, it will never be perfect. For another thing, you might get to Page 6 or Chapter 6 and realize you need to do a lot of work on Chapter 1. Again. And all that time you spent on it way back when is lost. You might have been on Page 10 or Chapter 10 by now. Plow through. Get it done.
Then you really have something to work with. Not only that, you can say, “I wrote a book.” Sure it’s not publishable yet, unless you’re a genius, and more work will need to be done. But the major objective is complete. Put a fork in it and get out your red pencil. Now you’ll have to do a different kind of writing, known as editing. And talking about editing would take a whole ‘nother post, so I’m not going there today.
But a reminder: Only two days left for the Goodreads giveaway of my suspense novel REVELATIONS about religious cult. Here: http://bit.ly/106G13F Good luck if you enter!