5 Easy Ways to Conquer Your First Draft

5 Easy Ways to Conquer Your First Draft


Writing is rewriting, and most professional writers advise getting through the first draft quickly so there’s something on the page to begin to rewrite. (And rewrite and rewrite again.)

If you’re ready to get out of the endless-outlining trap and power through a first draft, I’ve compiled five different methods for doing just that. These strategies provide enough of a game plan to get you through the draft without getting lost, but are also minimalist enough to keep you from getting stuck trying to plot out every inch of your story. So you can get to the end, and on to the real business of rewriting.

1) Springboard method

“Springboard” is simply a way to think about a significant event or reveal that changes the action and creates an engine to drive the next section of script. Rather than outlining every scene, your pre-writing with this method involves coming up with the springboards that occur throughout the story (aim for one every 12-15 pages or so), and the new type of action or struggle that’s launched by each one. You then use this framework as a guide through your first draft.

Good for: Writers who like to think in sequences, or stories that naturally follow a Point A to Point Z geographic journey.

In short: Use springboards to break up your script into manageable sections, and kick off each one with a burst of energy.

2) Flashlight method

With this method, your pre-writing involves identifying the two or three main relationships and/or conflicts in the story, and the starting and ending points for each. Then the writing process involves working linearly from the beginning of your script, planning only the next step of each conflict or relationship before you write it. This method gets its name from a former writing teacher of mine, who described it as “seeing only what’s illuminated by your flashlight.”

Good for: Stories involving ensembles or multiple storylines, or writers who want to shake up the ol’ writing routine and try a more intuitive method.

In short: Limit overwhelm by keeping only the next development of a plot or relationship in view as you write.

Read the full article on Screencraft.org

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