Writing a first draft is a hurdle that many really struggle with. Most will never make it any further than this step.
In this episode of the Am Writing Fantasy podcast, Autumn and Jesper offer a whole range of tips and advice to help you conquer the first draft of your novel.
Links mentioned in this episode:
BookBub reasons for rejecting a featured deal: https://insights.bookbub.com/reasons-book-rejected-bookbub-featured-deal/
The FREE Self Publishing Success course: https://www.amwritingfantasy.com/
Our guide on how to plot a novel: https://books2read.com/Plot-Development
Tune in for new episodes EVERY single Monday.
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Read the full transcript below.
(Please note that it's automatically generated and while the AI is super cool, it isn't perfect. There may be misspellings or incorrect words on occasion).
Narrator (2s): You're listening to The Am Writing Fantasy Podcast. In today's Publishing landscape, you can reach fans all over the world. Query letters are a thing of the past. You don't even need. And literary agent, there is nothing standing in the way of making a living from writing. Join two best selling authors who have self published more than 20 books between them now on to the show with your hosts, Autumn Birt and Jesper Schmidt.
Jesper (30s): Hello, I'm Jesper.
Autumn (32s): And I'm Autumn.
Jesper (34s): This is episode 117 of The Am Writing Fantasy Podcast. And the topic of the day is something that we have indirectly in a number of episodes, but we have never dedicated a full episode to it before. So we decided to talk about some tips for writing a first draft, which will be so much fun.
Autumn (56s): It's it is strange to think that we haven't, we've shared so many tips and we've talked to so many authors about how to overcome hurdles, but I can't believe we've ever done a whole episode on this.
Jesper (1m 9s): That's right. And when I was thinking about it as well, we have also actively, when we talked about editing, we have been talking slightly about indirectly, you know, talking about writing a first draft, but yeah.
Autumn (1m 21s): And covered the seven stages kind of helps you through a first draft, But no, this is really about writing it.
Jesper (1m 28s): It is. Yes. So let's see how we go today. And it should be a, it should be an interesting conversation.
Autumn (1m 35s): Yes. I I'm sure you've prepared something and I left it wide open, so I'm good.
Jesper (1m 41s): I am always prepared and then you can wing it as you normally do.
Autumn (1m 46s): I do although, I've had 23 or so first drafts. So I feel that this topic you feel comfortable. Yeah, no, this is my niche, so I'm good. So how are things for you with though?
Jesper (2m 2s): I'm a pretty good. Last week at least I made good progress on the first draft of our book one.
Autumn (2m 11s): Yes, you're doing good.
Jesper (2m 14s): Yeah. So I think this week is going to be a bit tough. I have a lot on the agenda this week, so let's see how we go, but, but, but it was good. At least getting some, some writing done last week. And I think I managed to do four chapters.
Autumn (2m 31s): You did a really good. Yeah, you're doing a little bit better than me with that. I'm still working on the edits to the reader magnet, the Rift and the Mage, but I know, and by the time this is recorded, it'll be done. But I'm really seeing my first book since July like 2019, this coming weekend. So there's a few things to do just a little bit. It's just a little bit, yeah, I forgot it. It's been a year and a half almost since we released a book, I forgot how much there is to do so. Yeah. I'm a little swamped. Yeah. Well it's so exciting. So that's good.
Jesper (3m 6s): The other good news actually is that some of the Corona restriction's have started to lift now. So I think fingers crossed, but within the next one to two weeks, I think I could be back to refereeing again.
Autumn (3m 22s): Excellent. And so if we're going to be spring-ish soon so that will be really exciting.
Jesper (3m 26s): Yeah. And they were saying, by the time we get to the summer, hopefully all of our entire countries should be vaccinated. Hopefully by summer time,
Autumn (3m 35s): The size of one of our cities, I would hope so.
Jesper (3m 39s): I should actually be even faster.
Autumn (3m 42s): And I mean, if they are saying the us can get completely vaccinated by May, we'll see if that happens. It was knowing the government will be June or July, but yeah.
Jesper (3m 49s): Yeah. Well, did they say what year?
Autumn (3m 56s): Again, I think it might have been 2024. You know, they didn't, or maybe they said there would be enough vaccines to vaccinate everyone by May. But if someone's going out with like a tranquilizer gun, that's not going to you.
Jesper (4m 11s): Oh yeah. That could be actually be cool. If you had some snipers are something like when you go out shopping than you'll get a ride,
Autumn (4m 18s): That would be cool. If there are people who would enjoy that over here. So we could pay money to have people do that in, make it all back, fill we've spent on helping people get their vaccines. Oh yeah,
Jesper (4m 31s): No, I see. Yeah, but actually I'm not sure if you remember, but quite a while back U a recommended that I should watch the show on Netflix, which one? Yeah. It's quite a while back actually. And I don't speak friends, but I think I would pronounce it LA revolution. Yeah.
Autumn (4m 50s): Or something like that. I did recommend, you know, what did you think of it?
Jesper (4m 58s): Well? I'm halfway through now.
Autumn (4m 59s): Okay. Yeah.
Jesper (4m 60s): It's in French. That's a bit of a downer.
Autumn (5m 3s): And like French four years in high school. Come on. Yeah.
Jesper (5m 6s): Okay. Well, I don't speak of word French, so yeah. But I'm half way through and a, so far, at least I would say that I really like how they are building the mystery elements. Excellent. I'm still not completely sure what kind of, I wouldn't even call it magic, but sort of what's going on with the blue blood and stuff and I'm not quite sure what's going on still with that. Okay. So I think that's pretty cool. Yeah. I guess the one thing I would say at this point is that I could really use a stronger character motivation for, I mean, I understand that a, they wanna stop the root, this stuff from happening and the revolution stuff and I, and I get it, but I think if it would be stronger or if it was a bit more clear why the character should be so invested in it, I ah, I'm not a a hundred percent onboard with that, but, but so far it, it, it's pretty good.
Autumn (6m 5s): Yeah. And it gets resolved at the end. I hope that I'm only halfway through, so yeah. And it doesn't leave it open. And I don't know if there is a second season come in, but it does leave it open that there was a potential there. But Yeah, for anyone who hasn't looked at it is it it's a totally, it's sort of like a zombie meat's French revolution. And I was actually my husband and I had a recent discussion about it saying, you know, well, it looks like pride and prejudice and zombies and Lincoln vampire Slayer kind of fed into this series being written. And I thought it was fascinating. I'm like this actually explains the French revolution in a way that I can totally understand, but I really enjoyed it.
Autumn (6m 48s): And I usually don't do Zombie things. So, and now I want a reprint, a prejudice. And so I'll be, so there you go.
Jesper (6m 54s): Yeah. Well there's not zombies in this, to be honest.
Autumn (6m 58s): But it, sort of plays on that idea though.
Jesper (7m 2s): Maybe Yes. I'd just call it the blue blood, you know, but I guess I just want it to mention it because if there are some listeners who are interesting, if you'd like something like mysterious murders and a no on no unknown virus spreading, I was about to say that and I just put it, I shouldn't say that, that nobody wants and watch it.
Autumn (7m 24s): Go ahead. It's fine. We have a vaccine now. They don't, it's fine. Know what?
Jesper (7m 28s): I just feel like a virus stuff is that people are like, yeah, I don't, no, I don't want to even watch stuff that is about virus outbreaks. It was just like no way to get it. I don't want to watch it. I don't want to read about it. It's just done. No, but Okay. Anyway, if you'd like mysterious murder test and try to check, are you pronounce this better than I do what they want to school? Do you see on, there you go. Yeah.
Narrator (8m 1s): A week on the internet with The Am Writing Fantasy Podcast.
Jesper (8m 5s): Yeah. So first of all, I just wanted to mention that we are making another attempt today on a recording ourselves on video while also recording the podcasts. So you'll be able to see on the Am Writing Fantasy YouTube channel, if you want. And then there is a video feed, but, but why am I mentioning is more because last week we had the first tri and a, there was some internet lax costs by the video feed, which meant that the yeah, autumn broke. It meant what, what, what happened though was that are sometimes it took a couple of seconds before I could hear what Autumn set and vice versa.
Jesper (8m 48s): So we have a bit of an awkward pause in between where it was quite annoying. So we were having another tap now and I hope it's going to work well today, but it is more to let you know that if the video feed keeps interfering, then we will probably dump the video feed again, because the most important thing is that this is a podcast. So the audio feed needs to be good. And if it suffers because of the video, then we will dump the video. But at least for now, we're, we're just trying out a bit, we changed a few things for today. So hopefully the internet, like we'll not be there anymore. Yeah,
Autumn (9m 21s): Yeah. I know. So far its between you and I seems Okay. Yeah. Internet, my internet is holding out, which is pretty good. If you can crisscrossed, we got to work at this time. Yeah. And you've changed location. Maybe that's a good idea. We got some like officey Diggs going on. Its kind of yeah.
Jesper (9m 42s): Yeah. Well another thing on the internet since this is that, that segment, I want it to mention how BookBub she had a list of nine reasons why the most, they most often reject a BookBub feature deal.
Autumn (9m 58s): Awesome. That is useful.
Jesper (9m 59s): Yeah. And given how important are these deals are. And then I thought maybe I could just do a very quick rundown of those 900.
Autumn (10m 6s): That's a really good cause I had to actually thinking of submitting a book and so this would maybe convince me or make me stay away.
Jesper (10m 13s): Yeah. And then you can see if you are aligned with these things away for a while.
Autumn (10m 16s): Yeah. So I have had one BookBub deal. So that was really exciting. But you know, it seems hit or miss there or maybe there's no rhyme or reason to this. There is no, no, no.
Jesper (10m 26s): Yeah. Okay. Okay. So now the number one, the book is too short. Oh that's interesting. Yeah. There are a minimum page count requirements. So that's a pretty easy fix. If a, you know, check those out before you submit a request for a feature deal. Interesting. That's easy. And a number two is also EASI not meeting the pricing requirement's so it was submitted. Book has to be deeply discounted or free. So that's a no brainer. Right. But if you don't have in the discounted the Book, then just don't get submitted feature deals because you are going to get rejected. Yeah. That makes sense. Yeah. A so not surprising so far right
Autumn (11m 8s): Now. I know it's shocking there.
Jesper (11m 11s): Number three, and this one is about timing. So BookBub will not feature a book more than once every six months. So if you did have a feature deal on that page that you can, you are going to have featured deals on several different, have your books. So, but that particular Book, they will not fit you again before six months later. So if you already had it, then don't submit it because you're wasting your time and their time.
Autumn (11m 33s): It seems fair. I mean it's hard enough to get one. So if you can get one every six months yeah. For you,
Jesper (11m 42s): Good for you. The other one is on number four is if your book is only available on Amazon, meaning Kindle unlimited, you are less likely to get Joseph. Oo, you can't be chosen, but it is much less likely BookBub is a, they SUPPORT wide platform and they like white. Oh. So they tend to promote books that are available everywhere. And so it's interesting. So if you are only in Canada limit at that might be, why are you getting rejections? It make sense a number five. And this one also makes a lot of sense to me, but it's about the reader experience. So if BookBub find a lot of reviews that mentioned that you have typos and stuff like that, they will often reject the Book.
Jesper (12m 27s): That makes sense. That's good to know
Autumn (12m 28s): Now of course it, it makes it harder than if you go in and you fix them, which hopefully you, you should do that before you publish. But if you can fix them, you still have those. Where are you sitting there? So they're going to hurt you really bad. Yeah.
Jesper (12m 42s): Over time. So get it right the first time you get it. Right. So number six and you'll like this next one out of it. It's something that we see all the time. Oh, all right. Well I like this one then if the cover, it doesn't matter. and the reader expectation BookBub we'll likely reject it. Yes. Have we said that before,
Autumn (13m 5s): So true. And that was good. That's one reason I was really happy to have one of my book's featured because it was also one of the covers I did. So I made me feel good as a graphic artist.
Jesper (13m 16s): Yeah. I can understand that. Yeah. We are now getting into like chicken and egg territory. OK. Yeah. So number seven on the list is not having enough reviews. Well, it doesn't
Autumn (13m 28s): Say it. How many at once or
Jesper (13m 30s): No, it does not tell me about it, but how do we get reviews when you are not seeing any sales? Yeah. And if you could get a BookBub feature deal, you would get sales and then you would get reviews. So you see the chicken and the egg problem here. Yeah.
Autumn (13m 42s): Yeah. And I know she got a dragon in the egg problem, but okay. That's fine.
Jesper (13m 49s): Yeah. Well, yeah, the, the dragon, not the egg problem and that's much better. Okay. Got it. But that's luckily something that we do talk about in the self publishing success course, and you can enroll to that course for free. Yay. Yay. That's a good,
Autumn (14m 5s): Yeah. The idea, because then you can figure out how to get reviews, which means to you, you might get it, but yeah.
Jesper (14m 10s): Yes. And I'll put a link in the show notes to the self publish Success cos so yeah. You can just sign up and get going in there, but I'll leave that alone for now and move on to number eight. Yes. We still have to work. Yeah. This one is a much harder to comply with and I would almost say just submit your book that BookBub feet, figure it out and check that because number eight, it's what they call that it is not aligned with current market trends. And so that's a bit like, yeah, that's a tough one. Yeah. I think that's a tough one. Yeah.
Autumn (14m 49s): I know. There's times where, you know, if a certain type of book is just not selling you sometimes if you're paying attention, you'll know that. But there's times that you don't, you can't read their mind what they decided is popular right now. So it's just, Yes.
Jesper (15m 3s): So one of the, like, you know, in the, when I'm out refereeing, we also have this catch all bracket thing. So we have like on sportsmanship conduct and you get a yellow card for it, but how do you define what that is? How I define that as a referee. So when you are, when you're being an asshole, you'll get to the yellow cards and I'll give you that as the reason then. So I think this is BookBub so the cats, all categories were like, well, if we can't figure stuff out, otherwise we will start it in the market. Not aligned with current market trends and rejected. Yeah, yeah,
Autumn (15m 35s): Yeah. Like the elf stones of Shannara and it's just not selling right now or are you do Saifai Fantasy and that's just not popular. Everyone wants to read about vampires and zombies is they'll just use that one for the sake of it. So that's the nice way of saying they were like, you know,
Jesper (15m 55s): Yeah. And then the last one is a pretty easy and say, no, in fact it, it is just that they have run out of advertising slots. They only advertise a certain number of the emails and maybe they would have liked to take in your book on board, but they are out of slots. So you just submit again next month. But yeah, that was nice things of why Book, book, book, buck. Did I say that? Yeah.
Autumn (16m 21s): Yeah. BookBub yeah. Well it
Jesper (16m 25s): Could be a buck. Who knows,
Autumn (16m 27s): But I like that.
Jesper (16m 28s): Why did they reject your book's? So yeah, maybe if you have interesting things to do, if there was a bit more details in the article itself, so I'll put a link to the article in the show notes as well. If you, if you want to go and read a bit more of the details, what I basically covered all the, the major points to it.
Autumn (16m 45s): Yeah. I might even check it out. I want to see what the length of novels is. If they are looking at novellas or it has to be full length, that'll be interesting. It has to be full Links. Novels. Yeah.
Jesper (17m 1s): A lot. And I mean, a lot of people really struggle with writing the first draft and will actually never make it any further than this step. So we thought it would probably be a good idea. So she has some tips about how can you conquer that first draft?
Autumn (17m 20s): Yeah, absolutely. And I actually, I have a quote to start this off with and I didn't even mean two. It was one, uhm, I was sharing with my parents. It's one of my favorite quotes and it's good for a lot of different things, but it's a is simply when all things are said and done, there is more said than done and that's actually a really old quote it's from ASAP. So human condition, it has not changed much in like 4,000 years, which is really sad. But yeah, I think that's a nice way to starting saying if you're talking about Writing, you should probably be WRITING. That was my excuse now. Y my social media is not always that good because that's talking and I like to do that's my experience.
Autumn (18m 3s): Anyway.
Jesper (18m 3s): I might actually be a topic for another podcast episode one day. Maybe it's just because before recording, actually, we, we were just talking about a social media efforts for authors and it was like, is it just a complete waste of time? And just spend the time writing and Stephen, I must say that I'm getting more and more inclined to say So, but
Autumn (18m 24s): Yeah, I try and I try to think of it as a way of talking to readers. But again, so that could be a distraction. Maybe you should be working on your first draft,
Jesper (18m 33s): But that's a, that's a detour. That's another topic for me
Autumn (18m 35s): A lot of the day, but we'll have to wait that one down. Yeah, yeah,
Jesper (18m 38s): No, it was just about to say if we don't ride it down and we'll forget it. Yeah,
Autumn (18m 42s): Yeah. I will do. So one of us was responsible for writing that down after the Podcast.
Jesper (18m 47s): Yeah. Yeah. That's how I would usually where you say one of us in the, nobody does it. That's how it works. Yeah.
Autumn (18m 52s): Yeah. Well, it's earlier for me later for you. So I'll take responsibility. It'll be more my fault if we don't do it. Yeah.
Jesper (19m 1s): Okay. I can live with that
Autumn (19m 3s): So you can write, well, I'm hoping I love it. This one pretty wide open on things to discuss. So I'm guessing though, you have some specific tips, just, just a hunch.
Jesper (19m 17s): I do. Yes. But I don't have them in any particular order of importance or anything like that. It's just, I'm a couple of things. So I think I have four Tips.
Autumn (19m 26s): Oh, well this is not too bad.
Jesper (19m 30s): No, its not too much either, but yeah.
Autumn (19m 32s): Ooh. I think that's a good place to start. Well I think that's the, one of the most important things is a, if you can create this almost mind block that it is your first draft and it is only so big and you don't treat it like it's this overwhelming giant hurdle, it's it. That's not going to help you later. So four steps. That's not too bad. So let's see here the first one or one of the third one, whichever what order you want to start with? Yeah.
Jesper (20m 1s): Yeah. Okay. Well the first one I call don't overthink it. Ah, yeah. Don't overthink it. I should put a space there. It's lame in the evening for me. Okay.
Autumn (20m 12s): Yeah. I know you had a long day. You were up early. We've already. And we had a business meeting before the podcast recording so that everyone be nice to Jesper tonight.
Jesper (20m 24s): Yeah. Well, okay. So this one is that it would really help you a lot if you are not approaching your first draft as if you are trying to write the next Lord of the rings. So something like that. Oh my gosh. You know, if you can just say, just accept that, what you write in your first draft will suck. Yeah. Yeah. It's like, it will like your grandmother sold Success or something like that.
Autumn (20m 53s): Yes. And this comes so, and that's a good thing. I wouldn't have to put it that it will suck, but that's a good way of putting it. Yeah.
Jesper (21m 3s): No, but it's, it's like, you know, if it's one of those cases again where your future self really hates your past self, because you will pass or fail, keeps passing shit on down the line.
Autumn (21m 18s): Right. Because, but
Jesper (21m 19s): I think this is one of the cases where you shouldn't be an asshole to you. If you just Self and just deal with the editing later, just to get the Writing John Dunn, it is Okay. That's why it's called a first draft because it's the first one and you are going to go through it multiple times. You're going to make it better and it is not supposed to be the final product. So please just don't overthink it and just write. Yeah. And don't care that it sucks.
Autumn (21m 49s): No, no, no. And that's actually, I mean, we have it in the guide course. I'd have to admit, I didn't come up with this phrase. So I'm not taking responsibility for this one, but it was a, a published author who break and you know, a traditional published author who said, well, your goal when you're doing a first draft is to write a short, bad book. And I love that. And it was very clear. He was like, it's not to publish short bad book, but your goal is to write a short, bad Book. Because normally when you're editing, it's easier to add to it than to cut words. And you don't need to write a 120. If you make it your goal, 180,000 words that you are going to take forever to get there. If your goal is 80,000 words and you might accidentally write nine year old, that's OK.
Autumn (22m 35s): That's not bad. Actually. That's perfect. Right? In the target and a short bite Book, you get it done. You can go fix it. You can't edit something that doesn't even an existing. Yeah. It just try not to do word vomit. I have a history of word vomit. We won't go there, but it would be a little bit more structure than word vomiting, but right. If you have to write it and I mean, I know you and I, especially our very first, if it's your very, very, very first novel, your debut novel, you'll probably end up rewriting the entire thing. I did mine three times and I still there's times I would have to go back. And now that I'm on Book 21, that I'm about to release.
Autumn (23m 16s): I was so tempted to go back and change born of water, but it is what it is. It was my first book. And I have come a long way since then. And you'll feel the same way when you're way past book one. Yeah,
Jesper (23m 32s): No, that's true. Yes. And I think that probably plays a lot into, to the second one I had listed because it's, well, maybe it's not in an entirely different point, but it's, it's sorta riffs off of what we just talked about as well, because it is really, I want to say, because I know I've said it before, so I guess I should keep saying, rather than changing my mind, like five episodes later than it is. Yeah.
Autumn (23m 58s): I'm going to make this as a quote for you and give it to you or for social media at this point.
Jesper (24m 6s): Mmm. But avoid editing as you go. And it is a bit of a tough one. I love that. But yeah, if you're trying to make everything sound perfect, then let's be honest. It won't never be perfect. And the other part is that you are wasting your time because you are until you get to the end and you start your editing phase. And during editing, you might discover that, Oh, actually this section here, it doesn't quite work. I need to pull it out. Maybe deleted. I need to re rewrite it or restructured slightly or something like that. And then you spend hours on making it sound perfect just to delete it later.
Jesper (24m 46s): So it is just waste of time. And while I am also saying that it is a bit of a tough one, this one, because I know people, I don't have to have that full extent myself, but I have a little in it as well in my, in, in, in, in my mind as well that if I know something just sucks, I have a very hard time just leaving it alone. I feel like I need to fix it a bit. Just sort of, at least I'm not that I want to make a perfect, but at least not that I feel like it's okay now, and then I can move on. So, and if I don't do that, I keep thinking about it and it can not let it go. Yeah. So I noticed one is a tough one. And if you are one of those people who are also can't let it go, then I feel for you because I know what it's like a for example, now with the first draft that I'm writing for our joint Book, I've had to force myself not to charge it, just write it and send it to Autumn.
Jesper (25m 45s): It's just gone, but not now, but yeah, well, Okay. That sounded wrong. But what I meant by that was really that the fact that I can email it off, actually empties it from my mind, because if, if it was my own and I have it in my file, and then I feel like going back to it, but as soon as I sent the email, then it sort of out of my studio, so to speak. Yeah. Yeah, indeed. Yeah. Even though it's still the same script in a file, but I don't know my mind is we had sometimes, but yeah.
Autumn (26m 12s): I love human psychology. So I get that. Yeah. I know. That's, I mean, it's a waste of time. Like you said, you know, if you're writing something and you're editing it and you know, it is perfect. Especially if you get yourself in a cycle where your rights something, and you have self doubt, so you can go back and you can edit it and you rewrite and you just, just keep treading on that same path. And that's not going to get you to the end of the year's first draft. And then to, even if you just edited it a little bit, you get to the, you know, the next five chapters and you realize that, Oh, that was a whole tangent. This is where the Book starts. I'm cutting of that. Well, if you spent hours editing it, Oh, that was wasted time. But I do. I mean, like you were saying, I'm the same way I, if there's something that's atrociously wrong, it depends.
Autumn (26m 56s): There's times I can like climb Maxine's and stuff. I feel like I've got to get it really kind of, all of those. There's so many pieces you'd need to get each one fit because then my next chapter might be a different characters point of view. And I need to know that what really happened. And so we're getting all that fitted in is important, but there's times sometimes the client plot holes, I have gone back and realized that was missing an entire character point of view, which it was a sub character, but it is important one. So it was that it ended up being three chapters. I had a rad, so there are times I will go back and edit while I'm writing. But there's also times where it's just like, Oh, thank gosh, Griffin never has a note section.
Autumn (27m 37s): And I would just highlight, add a note, add a note. And I even keep a file. And my Scrivener is a whole folder of that just says, you know, no edits to, you know, notes for editing. And so I was like, make sure I put it in a way to make sure you added this and make sure you've had that. If I can find the exact chapter at that moment, I just put it in there and then I review it and I find it as it goes through because yeah, it's not going to be perfect. That's what editing is for is once you actually have the whole thing and you get to the end and you're like, Oh yeah, I had this vision that I wanted to add this other little thing and I never did well, now's your chance to go and add it. It's easier to thread that in than to stop what you're doing and go back and figure it out now.
Autumn (28m 23s): Just don't do it.
Jesper (28m 23s): Yes, indeed. So you were wanting me to continue my,
Autumn (28m 27s): Yes, this was good. I like, I had like you steering, I'm a good navigator. You're a good driver. So it's fine.
Jesper (28m 38s): Okay. So this one, well, I don't know if I have to keep saying this, but having an outline. So you know what to write really makes things that much easier. Yes.
Autumn (28m 51s): Yeah. Oh definitely. I would have to put this one in there myself. Yeah.
Jesper (28m 55s): Yeah. I saw that greatly with this suffered really bad, but this one in my first book, I wrote myself into a corner and the story just took a completely different turn and it became, it became something that sort of out of my control, all of a sudden, and I was like halfway through and I was looking at it like, what is this? This is not the story I want you to tell at all. So I think outlining really helped. Yeah.
Autumn (29m 25s): Yeah. It helps a lot. I used to go to the same way. I was a, I have tried to pass my first novel and I think I got to chapter five or eight and they're kind of setting sail and they're going. I was just like, I don't cool. And that's what I, I was like I said, like characters got lost. I got lost. Yeah. I started at at least doing it minor outline. And that's when I discovered the seven stages of story structure and realized that, you know, all of these different combinations and it made it flow. I liked so much better than three or five acts. However you want to look at it. So that helps even, even to me like the book.
Autumn (30m 7s): So I'm currently, it was Writing. The series is about to publish. I sometimes just doing a two or three sentence synopsis. And that to me is truly like you, you know, that is your instructions for the entire map. This is the whole point of the journey. And I would remember writing for revolution, which will be booked three in this series. And I have looked at it and go, Oh, okay. The outline is OK, but it doesn't even fit this. So I have to change either, either my synopsis was wrong or my outline is wrong. And so I had to rework things halfway through, which is when I realize that was missing the character as well. And it was just like, Oh, and once it all clicked into place is like, Darren, Okay, this is an awesome story. Now it makes more sense. So I have to admit, I know I have an outline.
Autumn (30m 48s): I usually think it's fine. But when you start writing, sometimes you need to have something to check back and look at it and say, this is my guiding point. This is the entire, this was my thesis. So in my theory for this novel, is it still holding up in my holding true. And that way, every time you have a side plot or a little road off the highway, you, you can go, does that fit? Doesn't know. Yes, yes. And then you can keep going because it was, the characters will throw things at you. If you have good strong characters, they will try to take over and run with the story. And it's really fun. But sometimes they, especially, I'm writing about Fey in dark Fair or are you kidding? They just wanna go everywhere. Herding cats.
Autumn (31m 28s): So, you know, it's a horrible, but yeah, it's definitely going to need to have a plot.
Jesper (31m 35s): Yeah. But it's amazing how often one here that is, especially when people are starting out writing that that's really where they are so many people default too panting. They do and do no plan. And it's, it happens so often. It's incredible. I feel like that it should have one of those, you know, those labels from jackass over it, like don't try to shoot at home.
Autumn (32m 1s): Yeah. I know. That's very true. And it's very rare for a novelist who has done three or four books to still be a solid pants are where it's like, I'd just make it up on the spot. Almost every one, by that point, it has started plotting or at least a little, I mean, sometimes for me, plotting is intro phase as a reaction phases and you know, just a quick list of things that happen. I've broken it down now where I have chapters and I'll have just, you know, two sentences for each chapter and I'll flesh it out more when I get to that chapter because things have changed before that, but it's still an outline. I still have 38 chapters and each of them has a few sentences. So I know what's happening when I get there, I've thought it out.
Autumn (32m 43s): And you were a much stronger plotter, but yeah. Well, at the time you get through a few books in and you realize you do need to keep, you need to be in control, not let fate be your control.
Jesper (32m 55s): Yeah. And, and a lot of the time you can find some middle ground. It, it's not that you, you know, that you have to be fully pantsing, everything or fully plotting everything. There is a lot of middle ground in between. And there's a lot to say either that the end point is bad either. But I think when we're talking about your writing, your first novel, your very first draft, please don't try to pass it. You know, maybe off the eight novels and you have, and you have sort of have the story structure intuitively ingrained in you. When you sort of know where you are going, then maybe you can fly it a bit more, but yeah, just don't do it the way it is.
Jesper (33m 37s): It is. As I said, I don't try to shoot at home. Just don't do it.
Autumn (33m 41s): Yeah. I agree. If I had a stamp, I would put it on the screen right now. I agree. Don't try that at home. You will be writing a first novel and never having written a novel before you are already feeling intimidated to have no guide. You don't even know what your ending point like to me to know that I have this many chapters than I am writing to this point. I almost always ad at least two, but still I know is going to be this long. And I know where I am in. It has huge. I have a timeline. I can tell you what I'm going to be done. I'm going to hit that to within like five days. I'm usually not later. Those are huge things to know, and to not know anything about writing and to be so completely lost with Book one, it's just not paying lost in a fog on a edge of a cliff.
Autumn (34m 27s): And you just don't know where you are and you don't want to do that. So Have I have a string to hold on, to get at least a little bit of a plot going?
Jesper (34m 36s): Yeah. And if you need some help, we do have a full step by step guide on both how to develop characters, how to develop character, arcs, how to do the entire plot of a novel. So yeah, if you need help in that department, there's lots of help to be happy. And you can pick up a guide book. I'll put a link to the plotting books in the show notes as well. If you want to check that one out, but it will basically take you through from start to finish so you can just follow it and I can promise you, you will be way, way better off than trying to fumble around it in the dark. Yeah.
Autumn (35m 11s): Oh yeah. You won't be quite in the dark fog bank with no flashlight and no road that you'll have a much more guidance than that. Yeah.
Jesper (35m 22s): Yeah. Okay. So I have one more and then, I don't know, maybe you have some of the other ones as well.
Autumn (35m 27s): Yeah. We'll see. What else can I throw in the right now? I have to admit I'm having them as I've had had an office chair for so long. I am having the worst time. Not like swinging around in this thing. So I would love it place. Alright. So I'll have to try to stop spinning. Yeah.
Jesper (35m 45s): Yeah. So it's still pay attention.
Autumn (35m 46s): Oh, well that never works for me.
Jesper (35m 53s): Okay. So this one is around waiting for the Writing fairy's to show up in the spring Hill day or a pixie dust before, are you feeling motivated or in the right mood? 'cause if that's what you're doing, then no wonder why the first draft is still not done.
Autumn (36m 10s): Yeah. That's I think this is, what's becoming one of my pet peeves and I'm trying not to, because I understand the impetus to have it. And not every one wants to treat Writing as a business for some people. It really is a hobby that it makes them feel good. But waiting for inspiration. I think as I recently told someone recently, it was like, well, why did you find what inspires you and do that? And then go, right? Because if you're just gonna sit around and wait and it's like, what, what does that phrase? I was waiting for a water to boil it. Does it boil when you were watching it? You got it. You got to turn it on. You, you actually have to turn on the stove. So you got to turn on the inspiration to be inspired, to write.
Autumn (36m 54s): And it's not going to come by sitting there staring at a cursor blinking either or being on social media.
Jesper (37m 1s): Yeah, of course it made it. Well, yeah. You made a good point in saying that some people just, you know, it's just a hobby and if that's the case, then I think is fine. You know, if you just use doing it for the fun of it and you don't really care, if it takes you eight years, fine wait for the fairy dust to come and you know, that's fine. But, but at least if you want to have any commercial success from it, then you just have to prioritize Writing. And maybe, I mean, I understand the people who then might say, but I don't have time for it. I'm so incredibly busy. I understand that. I get it.
Jesper (37m 42s): Trust me. I'm insanely busy, busy as well, but sometimes it's a matter of I'm. I think I've said on a previous podcast, a get up at five in the morning, if that's what you need to do and do an hour of writing while the house is quiet or maybe skip the Netflix show in the evening and do some writing time, whatever suits you personally, I, I functioned best. We created a work in the morning. So for me it works to get up early and then do the writing before I'd have to do other things because then I've got it in. And I also feel more content basically, because I feel like I achieve it today. So it's not done off the list I already had.
Jesper (38m 22s): I'm already in control from the beginning, but I also know other people who prefer to work very late in the night and, and that's, you know, whatever works for you. But I think the point is just that you have to prioritize. Yeah.
Autumn (38m 35s): Yeah, they do. And that's what always worries me about doing it at night or when you get home from work is it's so easy that life distracts you or pulls you aside, or you had a really busy day and you're tired if you put yourself first. I think that's incredibly empowering and it really does set your day. So I will, I am a morning person, sort of a, you know, compared to a lot of people, I have 6:00 AM. It was like fine. Five or 30 years. Yeah. It's a little early, but it's fine. But yeah, getting up, I mean, even though I'm technically a full time writer and artist and writing coach, I still get up before I check email even years Jesper as the way I usually check, just to see if he said anything.
Autumn (39m 16s): I usually sit down without checking my email. I get my T I know breakfast. And I sit and I write for an hour or two or I'm editing for an hour or two. And that is how I start the day. And that's after that then, you know, and then we can eat, I can walk to the dog and all of those other things. So it just really sets the tone for my day. And I feel so good cause I put myself first and my own author platform First and my own ideas and my head first. And that's just fantastic until it keeps building and yeah. And it will percolate, percolate up all day. And then I feel so much more content focusing on other authors work because I know I put some stuff in it for me.
Autumn (39m 55s): And that's wonderful.
Jesper (39m 58s): Yeah. Plus just the satisfaction. I don't know if that's the right word, but it just feels very good when you know that I got my words In today and it was only eight in the morning. Like yes it is. It's wonderful.
Autumn (40m 11s): Yeah, it is. It really is. I say, like I said, I've had to get it sets the whole tone for the day and it's every day that I hit those words or finish the chapter, I was working on editing and you feel that it's really coming together. That's a better day and you go through a more positive day and you spread more positivity and all my goodness, this world needs more of that. So I think it's very helpful, but no matter what I mean, waiting for inspiration, that was really the whole point of this one. If you're just waiting and that is what you want to do, you also want, at the time it comes, you fizzle out so quickly. You might be waiting for inspiration for what weeks, days, months. And it finally comes and you're writing stamina is what a thousand words, or if you're pushing yourself and trying to find things that inspire you, giving yourself some time, putting your dreams, putting some time and effort into that.
Autumn (40m 58s): That's something that is your dream, which will make you feel more positive towards yourself. That way, if you do. I mean, even for you and I we're a professional writer is, but occasionally is not just sitting there and the key word and forcing yourself to do it. When those moments of true spark and inspiration come in and you're like pounding out the story and telling your kid's five minutes. And they know that means that like half an hour, don't touch, don't talk to you or you can go, you can put in chapters. It, it is amazing what you will we do when we're on, you know, caffeine acceleration. Oh my God, I have inspiration. I just don't bother me. You can whip out half the book's its fantastic. You won't get there if you're just waiting for inspiration and never put in any effort in between.
Autumn (41m 44s): Yeah.
Jesper (41m 44s): Yeah. And I think another way of putting it is basically just say that again, disregarding the people who just do it because it's a hobby then that's fine. But if we ignore those people for a moment here than it is a, a, another way of saying that Writing is also a job, you know, it's not all day. I'm sure that every morning when the Baker goes to his job, I'm sure he's not every morning for you. And I'm so inspired to break a baked bread today. Right? It does not happen every day. And he does it anyway because it was his job in the same thing with writing. It is certainly not all the time. When I sit down to write a chapter that I feel inspired for it certainly not all the time, but I ride it anyway and then push the shit down to the line to a future Self sort, this stuff out once you get that far.
Jesper (42m 37s): But actually to be honest, once you then get to it later, you can't really distinguish why, where were you motivated and where we are not motivated because actually there's not that much of a difference in the thing.
Autumn (42m 50s): There's I see some small differences when I'm really flowing and you know, I see like I'm adding in more sensitive, more senses, a little bit better description, but it all, you know, once you go through and edit from phase, you can't tell him no one, no one reader is going to say, Oh, you are just so inspired right now. You can't tell what they can tell is that I actually finished the book and got it to them. They know that, but yeah.
Jesper (43m 14s): Yeah. But, and, and also if you did a proper job in your editing, you'll move everything up to the same standard anyways. So yeah, maybe if it was like, let's say there are 2% less editing in the motivating part, but the cast
Autumn (43m 31s): Exactly. It's not that big of an issue. And the point is to actually do the book, get the, get that first draft done, then learned to edit it and you know, you'll have the manuscript ready to send out the readers and have that inspiration. Inspiration is great fun. We'll get into like the plotting because that's a really the best time to really work out what happens next. Do you need a lot of inspiration for some solid plotting? Yeah.
Jesper (44m 0s): Yeah. So if I'm to put like some sort of conclusion on it, I would probably say that at the end of the day, everything that we talked about here, it really feeds into the fact that you have to find the process that works for you. It sounds Fair because we all have different. And I think there are some good pointers in what we said in terms of things that you need to think about, but how to actually apply. It is something that, where you need to think yourself as well and, and find your own way through it. But one thing I guess we can say is that the first draft becomes easier and easier over at the more times you have done it, the ETA it becomes.
Jesper (44m 45s): And it doesn't feel like that big of a hurdle anymore. After a while, you know, it's, it's the only the beginning, the first Book, maybe two, two and a serious, at least that's a bit of a pain. So once after a while, then it does, it's not that big of a hurdle anymore. And it's still a massive undertaking just to write a first draft. I'd like, like we set up at the top of the Episode, most people don't even get that far. So if you could just get the first draft done, you already ahead of 90%. So, so it's a matter of a pushing through there. And, and the other thing that I, as I said before there, I think it was really important is that you are your first draft.
Jesper (45m 27s): Isn't bad. It's just not edited yet. And that's all right, you don't have to go for perfection because if you keep trying, you'll never get to the end of the first draft of the first draft of a short bat Book, write the book. Then you can add to it. You can learn from it and get some feedback as an alpha Rita and mentor writing coach, if you really have doubts, but you need somebody to look at it, to grow from. So just write it fine, a few things that will work for you from what we've said, having like guideposts a synopsis, maybe using a story structure or something like that, that it can at least give you some guidance that you know, where your beginning, middle end and everything will be and right it, and just get it done.
Jesper (46m 11s): And you will be so much happier to actually have done it and put yourself first. I will say that that that's something that you have to do at least one day a week, give yourself that. Okay. So next Monday, Autumn, we'll be back with a very interesting interview and a, she will be discussing the state of the industry and lots more like that.
Narrator (46m 34s): If you liked what you just heard, there's a few things you can do to support The Am Writing Fantasy Podcast. Please tell a fellow author about the show and visit us at Apple podcast and leave a rating and review. You can also join Autumn and Jesper on patreon.com/AmWritingFantasy for as little as a dollar a month, you'll get awesome rewards and keep The Am Writing Fantasy Podcast going. Stay safe out there and see you next Monday.