Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A very useful book: First Draft in 30 Days

It's a well-known fact - writers' groups are frequently the source of an incredible amount of useful information. I thank Bronwen Evans, of my writers' organisation RWNZ, for mentioning in a recent Heart 2 Heart newsletter that she had found the book First Draft in 30 Days a useful resource. Bron credits a chat with award-winning, prolific author Stephanie Laurens as sparking her own successful use of this book.

With FDi30D duly purchased, I'm now part way through the intensive plotting process for a romantic suspense I've been dabbling around with for...hhmmm...about three years.  It's described as 'a novel writer's system for building a complete and cohesive manuscript'. I have to admit to initially thinking it would guide me to write an actual first draft, but Karen's right when she says her detailed plot outlines are virtually a complete first draft. I can see that it's possible to write a very clean, well-structured manuscript from this detailed outline knowing that all the hard work on vitial plot twists, multi-layered characters, settings, black moments and much, much more has all been done.

As I started working through this indepth process, I had a real lightbulb moment. I'm not a 'pantser', I'm a plotter who simply didn't know how to plot!

I know many writers who would be horrified to know exactly what's going to happen in their stories before they've written them. The thing is we all have to find our own ways to achieve that wonderful feeling of writing The End and so far, it's looking promising that this method is something I can learn from and develop my writing skills around.

Best I keep at it...
Talk soon


  1. Congratulations on the new blog, Cate. I love the lovely rich colour. I've read good things about 'First Draft in 30 Days' so checking it out is on my 'to-do' list today.
    Happy writing!

  2. Thanks Leigh. Appreciate you stopping by and hope you find some value in FDi30D.

  3. The cyber-gremlins keep eating my comments! I'm trying to say - very professional and a gorgeous coloured background too. Looking forward to being a Cate 'follower'.

  4. Hey Cate, Congratulations on the new blog.
    I'm nearing the end of my first manuscript! and trying to have it ready for the Clendon in Feb *fingers crossed* Time is ticking eeeek!
    I'll definitley be checking out 'First draft in 30 days' for my next attempt. I'm a plotter but I'm not very orgainised, so hopefully this book can sort me out :)
    I look forward to following your blog!

  5. Hmmm ... it sounds as if I am 'really' going to have to get this book. I hear nothing but great things about it.

    Keep us posted on your progress, Kate.


  6. Uhm .... and that would be Cate with a "C" not a "K" *blush*

  7. Cate
    Love the blog. This is one book I'm eager to get my hands on.
    Good luck finishing the damn book this year.

  8. Great posts Cate, can't wait to hear more. I love your theme.

  9. Ooo, thanks for all the comments, lovely RWNZ members.
    I really appreciate your feedback about the look of the blog too - it's SO simple to set up in Blogger.
    Go for it, Sherilee - the Clendon deadline is not far away now.

  10. An extra point - someone told me that Karen Wiesner apparently did not pick the title (which I found misleading), the publisher did.