Friday, February 21, 2020

One Approach to Writing Effective Fiction

Once you’ve decided on a premise for a story or a novel, the real effort begins. How should you approach the writing of your first draft? A Bookbaby newsletter article suggests writing the first draft of a novel as if you were writing a movie script. “Spotlight the essentials of action and dialogue in your first draft, then add all the exposition and descriptive ‘book stuff’’ the next time around.” Focusing on dialogue and action gives the writing structure. The bare bones will be there to flesh out in later drafts. Perhaps this is another way of suggesting: show, don’t tell?

What do you think? Do you work in a similar manner? If you don’t, would you try doing so in the future? In the case of my novella THE BURNING, I actually wrote it as a movie script initially and then converted it. I found the dialogue flowed much more smoothly and naturally. The plot also worked better as did the theme.

Of course, novelists as well as short story writers really need to use all of their senses: taste, touch, smell as well as sight and sound. As fiction writers, we are not limited and can let our vivid imaginations roam freely. Our use of description and exposition also encourages us to do so.


Your comments welcome!

11 comments:

  1. I like this idea, Jacqueline! I'm an outliner, and my outlines are pretty much action points and chunks of dialog. I've come to see my outlines (pages and pages of outline) as roughroughrough first drafts.

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    1. Hi Molly,

      Great to hear from you! I also like to start with a rough outline before I begin a first rough draft.

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  2. Writing description is the most challenging for me. Dialogue and action come much easier. However, I tend to still take time--often too much time--writing description in the first draft. I'll have to try this approach, perhaps crudely sketching out description with the idea of putting down the mood or information I want it to convey but not get bogged down with the details until the rewrites.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, we can always come back to deepen our descriptions, mood and setting on a second draft.

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  3. Everyone has their own approach and none are better than any other if they produce a good story. My first draft is done when I have a character, a place and a plot, including an end. Once I have all three clear in my head and in my notes I let the pieces go where they choose.

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  4. Interesting concept. When I writing, I see the action, so I guess I approach it in somewhat the same way. But I hadn't thought of waiting until the second draft to fill in the dialog, etc. I have to think about it. But I always appreciate your sharing innovative ideas!

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  5. Actually, the suggestion is to visualize the action and dialogue in the first draft as if you're viewing a movie and writing a film script. It's a possible way to go.

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  6. Great advice Jacqueline! Sometimes I get my book in scenes then I have to depend on God and the characters to get me from one scene to the next. Interesting and frustrating at the same time LOL!

    Good luck and God's blessings
    PamT

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