Monday, May 19, 2008

First Draft in 30 Days

For years I spun short stories along with one long manuscript which I filed away feeling it wasn't good enough, but two years ago I determined to learn the craft of writing fiction books. With my bookkeeper mentality, I needed a formula for finishing a long manuscript while keeping everything in order. I discovered the book "First Draft in 30 Days" by Karen S. Wiesner. Invaluable ideas by Ms. Wiesner outlined helps I've used with each of the three manuscripts I've written and my current work in progress.

Ms. Wiesner breaks the process into steps from brainstorming to first draft, giving approximate number of days to finish (assuming, of course, you're working on it every day of the thirty days). One simple suggestion has saved me countless going back and forth, losing time and concentration. While writing, you come across something you need more information about, you add it to your research list with page number of your manuscript where you need to add what you learn. By doing this, you continue writing while it's flowing. Then you can spend time researching all the things you need to add and go back editing from your list. This really does save time. Her ideas about character sketches and time lines add depth and detail to a new story.

I highly recommend this book. Even after finishing manuscripts using this method, I often revert back to the book and gain new suggestions I missed the first time around.

Starting a new manuscript? Check out this book and see if you can come up with a rough draft in thirty days. If you only write one day a week, you could still have a rough draft in less than eight months. Did you do that well the last few months?


  1. Was she the lady whose workshop we attended at ACFW? This sounds like a good book to use for planning and keeping on schedule. I know you have been very productive the last few months. Now I know how you did it.
    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Janet, I have read this book and love it. I also like the fact that you can use this book to plan outlines for future books.


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