Sharing Writing Ideas – First Drafts

penToday’s topic is “Writing Methods.”

Readers, have you ever wondered how a story grew from someone’s imagination into a novel?

Writers, won’t you share your secrets with us? How did your novel take shape?

I know there are all kinds of odd writing habits that produce a novel. Why not share what you do? I’ll start by sharing an odd writing habit that worked for me.

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When I began to write the first draft of Julia’s Violinist, I happened to be in Mexico. I bought a couple of Mexican school exercise books – the kind we usually call scribblers, although that name always bothered me (my mother always told me to write neatly, not scribble). I took my beach mat and a pen and notebook to a quiet spot on the beach and, with the sound of the waves swishing in the background, I began to write. Heidi and Harry, an elderly German couple who rented a bungalow next to ours were also at the beach. When it got too hot to write, I went for a dip in the ocean. Treading water next to Heidi, I asked her all kinds of questions about what life was like for her in the days  before, during, and after WWII. Some of what she told me became part of my novel, Julia’s Violinist, and it’s because of her help that one of my characters is named Heidi.

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After writing a chapter or a scene in my notebook, I took my beach gear back to the bungalow and turned on my laptop. As I transferred the “scribblings” into my Word program, I was able to add, delete, and change the text to fatten up the story.

Day after day, I did this, and gradually the novel took shape.

Please share your thoughts in the comment section. No answer is wrong. All input is appreciated.

Don’t be shy. Tell us what you think and share your ideas.

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16 thoughts on “Sharing Writing Ideas – First Drafts

  1. My novels started with insomnia. I played with a story line in my head for about a year. Then one day, I mentioned this to an author friend. He said, “Well, then, you’ve done all the hard work of pre-writing. You’re ready to go.” And away I went, scribbling ideas on yellow stickies and working them into the story. I naively thought I’d start at page one and write to the end. Instead I played musical chapters, rearranging the story line, adding and deleting passages, until I was happy with the result. Books two, three, and four went much more smoothly than the first as I had an idea of what to do and worked with a rough outline.

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  2. Anneli, thanks for interesting insight. I tend to arrive at ideas when they arrive pretty well collected in an instant. Very intuitive thinker. This is a real disadvantage when you need to “show your work” ;)!

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  3. Thank you Anneli for inviting me to share about writing with you and your followers!

    I have been writing for years. My ideas come to me at the most unexpected moments. When I see something and it strikes a chord, I write it down. You would not believe the pile of notes I have! There are notes on napkins, post-it notes, and on the backside of envelopes.

    The rest of this comment will be in the next blog post about sharing writing ideas. Stay tuned!!

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  4. Our first novel began four years ago when my best friend (now co-author) wrote a paragraph to ‘get me started’ on my dream of writing a novel. After that I just wrote down what flowed, until the story was done.

    I’m supremely organised in real life but planning in writing doesn’t work for me, so it was a good lesson in allowing ‘flow’ and ‘intuition’ (key themes in our series, too!) I have to do a lot of extra checking and editing after the first draft, and found myself collating chapter summaries to make sure there weren’t any continuity errors.

    Our genre is visionary/metaphysical (now with some paranormal) so maybe that’s part of the reason Flow is better than Planning for our work. If I ‘think’ about it, the magic of the story is nowhere to be found! The second novel and all the short stories I’ve written work in much the same way.

    Loving your posts, Anneli! So glad we ‘met’. 😀

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    • Thanks for sharing your ideas with us, Joanna. I love to see that people have different ways of achieving their goals. That’s one of the beauties of writing. There is no one way that is best or that works for everyone. I’m so pleased that you enjoy my posts and that you’re an active participant. If you ever want to do a guest post (maybe to showcase your books) you’ll be very welcome. Just contact me through my webpage (anneli-purchase.com).

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      • Thank you, Anneli, for reminding me of your kind invitation. 🙂

        Yes, each writer’s experience is as unique as their individuality – which is wonderful. I had meant to add that I’d enjoyed reading about your experience … so now I can add that here. 🙂

        Until next time 🙂

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  5. Thanks, Joanna. When I started writing Julia’s Violinist on the beach, it was really fun, and I enjoyed the rewriting as I transposed and expanded on the bare bones writing in the notebook. Of course I didn’t write the whole book this way, as I had to go home after a few weeks, but it was an interesting way to begin. Right now, with winter setting in, I’d love to go write another book on the beach!

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