Whether we plot or pants (or do something in between), the drafting stage is where we work to put core ideas onto the page.
It’s a lot of fun because creativity is cranked up and our imaginations are set loose! After all, we know we’ll be back to improve everything later.
Of course, it’s this “improve everything” bit that can really cause us to struggle, because the more we learn about writing, the more we see all the moving parts that must work together to create a compelling story.
- Our plot must be specific to our characters and their goals, and no matter what we throw at them (conflict), it has to push the story forward.
- We need to describe the world and events within it so that readers feel part of it, but not be so heavy-handed with description that reading becomes a chore (pacing).
- And then there are the stars of the show, our characters. Generic, hollow beings are forgettable, so ours must be designed with depth and purpose. They need dreams, desires, fears, and past hurts. Their personalities need to come across as interesting and genuine. Along with a million other things, primary characters should feel realistic, pulling at readers emotionally so they become invested in their goals and the journey.
(This trifecta of Plot, Character, and Setting is also just the beginning.)
The point? All those cogs in the story machine can seem overwhelming. So how do we make this learning path more manageable?
No one can master anything overnight, including storytelling, so cut yourself some slack. Gaps in our knowledge is normal, and truthfully we’ll never stop learning. So get comfortable with that idea and then think about ways to absorb information a bit at a time.
One of our favorite methods for this is to condense ideas into a single sheet of information. In fact, we created a massive database of tip sheets and checklists at One Stop for Writers that can help writers strengthen their writing in a variety of areas.
Here’s a glimpse at some of the topics we cover…
Characterization & Arc:
Character Failure Responses
Character Love Languages
Emotional Expressions Wound Thesaurus Tutorial
Types of Emotional Wounds
Raising the Stakes
When to Kill a Character
Save the Cat Plot Types
Pacing and Pressure Points
Setting Choice and Description
Setting Thesaurus Tutorial
When to Show
When to Tell
Body Language in Dialogue
Showing Attraction through Body Language
Come check out our Tip Sheet Database!
Go here to view, download, and share our checklists and tip sheets. No subscription is required. Hopefully they will give some new ideas on how to improve your story.
Enjoy & happy writing!
Angela & Becca