First Draft – How to Write your Story

First Draft

Writing the First Draft

YIPEE! Yesterday, I finished the first draft of my children’s novel … on a topic close to my heart.


First Draft

Personally, I suffered anxiety as a child and as an adult. I came from a loving family consisting of an anxious Mum, an anxious Dad … and three anxious sisters.

Yep! Anxiety is part of my genetic make-up.

In the past, anxiety peaked when a bully harassed me as a child … and again when I was a school teacher.

I reveal how three bullies terrorize me, a teacher, in my memoir Me and Her: A Memoir of Madness.

My junior fiction books reveal elements of my bully experiences and prevention strategies.

Recently, STOP the Bully was listed on the 2019 NSW Premiers Reading Challenge for Grade 3-4. Its supported by Kids Helpline and Kids Book Review.

Song Bird Superhero  received excellent Reviews from Kirkus Reviews and Disney magazine. An International Marketplace catalogue will list Song Bird Superhero  in August, 2019.

ME? I minimize anxiety flare-ups with positive self-talk and coping skills.

Celebrating my first draft

With a toss of confetti and a sip of wine, I celebrated with hubby, author Steve Tyrrell.

Finally, I finished months of visualizing, researching, planning … and writing down my story.

 Now, I have something concrete to work on. I’ll begin the second draft very soon.

First Draft

What’s the first draft?

The first draft is my first effort in telling my story from start to finish. In my case, I completed twenty-nine chapters of a junior fiction novel.

First Draft

How did I start the first draft?

First, I thought of a story idea about a character who must solve an unsolvable problem.

I day dreamed, visualizing my main character so I could get to know him/ her better.

I asked questions …

What do they want?

What’s their greatest dream?

What’s their greatest fear?

 What comes next?

Then I brainstormed: who, what, when, where, why, how … and what if?

The answers helped me form a story premis.

I created a list of possible characters and chapter scenes.

First Draft

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

A pantser is someone who writes by the seat of their pants. In the past, I wasted too much time writing this way.

Now, I’m definitely a plotter. Which means I plan my stories in advance. With a story structure, I develop my chapters around a story plot, like following a recipe.


I create an outline or a profile sheet for each character, asking myself what does that character WANT? I make each character memorable in both their appearance and their character traits.

 Create a story structure or an outline

I work out my story based on the ‘Hero’s Journey’ plot structure with Three Acts. Many fantasy books and movies like Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings use this framework.

Write my Story

Each day, I visualize a scene in my story using Stream of Consciousness writing. Quickly, I scribble down what I ‘see and feel’. Later I type up the chapter in a Word Document.

I continue this way until I finish the book, resolving all the problems and answering all the questions about the character.

First Draft

  #7 Tips to Finish your First Draft

  1. Start with a story idea and a super challenge for your character. Ask your character many questions which he/she will answer through the story.
  2. Outline your plot, your characters and scenes for each chapter.
  3. Read your story structure or outline regularly to remind you where you’re going.
  4. Write the same time each day.
  5. Take a notebook everywhere, to jot down ideas.
  6. Try writing retreats, NaNoWriMo or writing challenges to keep you focused.
  7. Finish writing your story!

First DraftHave you finished writing your First Draft?

 What writing tips would you like to share?

Please comment below, Like or share in social media  🙂

Did you like this? Share it:

4 comments to First Draft – How to Write your Story

  • Alexis Charlton

    Love the graphics, that’s me on most school days before I drive the kids. Some wonderful ideas in here and I’ll be sure to use them on my next draft. Nice work again Karen and thanks for helping us newbie again

  • Hi Alexis,
    Thanks for dropping by.Thrilled you’re writing your very first ‘First Draft’ of a book.
    Best wishes … and happy writing … Karen & Steve 🙂

  • Awesome refresher…i am 2/3rds through my first draft of my first ever MG spec fic.

    Struggling to keep the momentum with looming deadlines to illustrate book for client.

    I too follow the hero’s journey and 3 act structure…plotying is the most effective method.
    Keep on inspiring others Karen. Cheers Matt B.

  • Thanks Matt,
    I really appreciate you taking a look at my writing process. Thanks for sharing yours too.
    I hope you find the time and motivation to finish the First Draft of you MG, so you can keep up the momentum.
    Happy writing and illustrating … Karen 🙂

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>





This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.