First Draft Blues
Written by
Raylene J. Wall
August 2016
Written by
Raylene J. Wall
August 2016

I'm currently working on my first novel (YA genre) and while I've been writing most of my life (song writing, poetry, technical writing, manuals, plays/scenes, short stories) I'm having a hard time understanding just what the "first draft" of a novel looks like.

Do I just write the story, paying no attention to dialogue, setting, details, etc.? Is it episodic? In that, it is a description of the action and what takes place in the scene? I've been trying to find a image or an article that shows me HOW the first draft is supposed to look...but I've had no luck.

I tend to write the scene...and then re-write and re-read and re-write each scene until I feel it's "done", but I'm getting burned out with this process and wondered if I'm going about this all wrong.

Can someone confirm my suspicious or provide me with some feedback?

Thank you,

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  • Raylene J. Wall


    Thank you so much for responding. I've had a sneaking suspicion that it was as unstructured as you say, but I wasn't sure. While I know that getting it written is most important, I didn't want to get down the road to discover that I've been doing it wrong. As it is, writing and then editing and re-writing, etc. each scene probably wasn't the way to go either. In any case, thank you for taking the time...I really appreciate it.


  • Suanne Schafer

    The thing to remember is it's a first draft. It doesn't matter what is looks like--it will be edited from whatever stage it's in many many times until you get to the final product. I know people who start with the dialogue then go back and fill in the scene descriptions; others write the scenes they "know" the best, then fill in the rest of the scenes. I tend to write the story, but have to go back and layer in emotion. If I get "stuck" I write the next scene, then go back and fill in the blanks. The important thing is to get a COMPLETE draft on paper, start to finish. You can't fully edit something until you have a complete story to work with.