Just Write It: Stop Second Guessing until You Revise

Permalink

I woke last night and wrote and rewrote endlessly the first line of my new novel. Yes, it is an important line, but it’s not important enough to stop me from writing a first draft of the first chapter.

Place Holders

I like the idea of place holders in fiction. That is, you write something–a sentence, a title, a paragraph, a joke, a piece of dialogue–knowing that this isn’t the best it can be, but also knowing that you’ll come back and fix it.

Place holders have an important function in the first draft. They let you get the story told, without fussing over the exact details. You get a sense of momentum, that you are moving forward. The story is the focus of the first draft, getting it down on paper, from first to last, opening scene to climax to denouement.

The function of the first draft is to find your story.
The function of the next few drafts is to find the best way to tell that story.

So, using place holders in the first draft makes perfect sense.

Fiction Notes by Email

When a new post appears on Fiction Notes, we'll send it to you by email.
We love to make it easy for you!

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

Related Post

6 Comments
  • Corey Popp
    May 16, 2011

    I use # as a placeholder. When I’m all done I can go back and CTRL+F to find all the trouble spots.

  • Darcy Pattison
    May 16, 2011

    Great idea, Corey!

  • Sophia Chang
    May 17, 2011

    YESSSS!! This is exactly how I write! This is why I’m an underwriter (heh) who can never figure out who people end up with 100,000 word drafts.

  • KC Frantzen
    May 21, 2011

    This is exactly why it’s taken 28 dog years to get May on the Way: How I Become a K9 Spy READY.

    Chalking it up to the steep climb up the learning curve. Surely book 2 will be easier!

    Thanks for your blog – I enjoy it, though don’t always comment! Happy Saturday!

  • Tom Mestancik
    January 19, 2013

    While I am at work I continuously go over the exciting parts of the novel that I have yet to write. My only problem is that I have trouble starting. I have spent literally days sitting at a blinking icon awaiting movement.
    I think this post was rather motivational as I know now I can always go back and edit.
    cheers guys, happy writing

  • Darcy Pattison
    January 19, 2013

    Tom-
    I hope it gets you going! Happy writing!
    Darcy