Friday, May 18, 2012

Tips for Fast Drafting

Currently I’m enrolled in a Fast Draft class run by Candace Havens. An award-winning romance author who wears many hats, Candace, sold a draft that she wrote in 4.5 days.

Fast Draft is meant to break down boundaries. It gives the writer permission to write a crappy first draft. It’s not about perfection at all. It’s about getting words down on a page. Every day the writer sets a goal, whether it’s 10, 15, or 20 pages, and the trick is turning off the internal editor every day and just writing. Don’t think, just write. This method has become freeing. There’s obviously some valid thought in using this method. I’ve noticed by not over-thinking the situation, my characters now have a voice of their own. I have interjected my voice into the novel. It’s their voice. It’s Grace, it’s Amy, and it’s Nick’s voice. They’re snarkier and wittier than I would ever be in real life, but that’s the point. The freeing thought that comes with writing a first draft allows the writer to say what needs to be said, and not what the internal editor, who is always in there trying to pick at our brains, wants to say.

Over-thinking any situation is bad, and in writing it’s no exception to the rule. When we over-think we stop the character from thinking naturally; and what comes out is forced dialogue and forced situations.

The more we can get out in a short amount of time, the better. One of the writers in the group mentioned Write or Die. This app is something you can set and you’re basically racing the clock. Beat the clock, and you’re fine. If you don’t, there are consequences. Another way to get a whole bunch out in a little amount of time is #1k1hr. Using that hash-tag, find others who want to write 1,000 words in an hour. It holds each writer participating accountable.

Remember several things when writing this first draft:

1) It doesn’t have to be perfect.

2) Give yourself permission to write a horrid first draft

3) And, the most important rule is “Don’t think. Just write.”

Now what are you waiting for? Go write that horrendous first draft. Spit all the words out onto the page and then revise. Remember Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is your novel, but it will get there, and it will be beautiful.

Happy writing!

~ Heather

To sign up for Candace’s classes, visit for more information.


  1. I'm going to be reading my horrible first draft next week. Eeek!!!!!

    I found that as I got further along on my first draft, the more it because just basic actions and dialogue as I tried to get the story down on the page. I decided that I'd worry about everything else later on.

    No way could I ever write a complete novel in 5 days. Five weeks more like it. :(

  2. This is interesting. Personally, I'm a big outliner, but once I have an outline done, I can draft pretty quickly. Not quite this fast, but fast.