Hello everyone! After finishing my first draft some weeks ago, I wanted to share what I've learned writing the first version of my first novel

About me

  • My job: I have a fulltime job not related to writing
  • Time to write my first draft: 4 years (1st yeard documentation, 6 months of planning, rest on writing).
  • Genre: noir, fantasy
  • Tools: I used a notebook for brainstorming, google docs for writing and storing ideas
  • Language: I write in Spanish
  • Premise of my novel: a tattoo artists discovers the dark secret of a city and will try to escape from it alive

What I've learned while writing

Things I did well

  • Read how to write "commercial" screenplays. They are good for improving plots and also keeping things simple. No need to write a very deep novel in your first draft.
  • Keep statistics on how much I write. It really motivated me to write more.
  • Keep world building to minimum.
  • Read about how to be a good Game Master in rpg games (seriously).
  • Write even if uninspired. I once read that Stephen King said something like "let inspiration get to you while you are writing". Sometimes inspiration will come, but you aren't ready to write. Just daydreaming. Write a lot, and inspiration will sometimes come when you are ready to listen to it.
  • Using Google Docs: it enabled me to always have my work available, no matter with which device I'm connected with to the internet.
  • Going to improv classes: it showed me the benefits of

Things I did wrong

  • I followed some writing advice that I wouldn't follow again: write a list of scenes you want to show in the novel and rearrange them in order. Sometimes I think my draft lacks of cohesion and that feel that I have scene A, scene B and then scene C instead of scene A leads to scene B which leads to scene C. I learned about this after going to some improv classes.
  • Trying to write the best novel ever.
  • Not writing a summary of each chapter. I forgot many times what I had written in the past and made some inconsistencies.
Read:  Anyone else have a problem where they have trouble writing after receiving a critique?

About my second draft

I've found that I need to improve many things, for example:

  1. Put more foreshadowing
  2. Polarizing my characters more. They all seem to be very similar and I want them to be more differenciated
  3. Improve worldbuilding. I want my city to be one more character.

Any advice on how to do my best on the improvements I've described above, or any other advice you would give to me?

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