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The First Draft Explained: Strategies from the Start

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Writer's Digest University
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12 Weeks to a First Draft

Krista Rea Krista Rea
Online Education Manager
Writer's Digest University
There are numerous things to keep in mind while writing your first draft but don't let yourself get overwhelmed in the process. There is time to revise later on in subsequent drafts. Author James Ellison said, "You write your first draft with your heart, and you rewrite with your head." The beginning stages of writing are the perfect time to receive feedback from a published novelist. Learn how to shape your story in the 12 Weeks to a First Draft Workshop.

The 12 Weeks to a First Draft class will provide you with the skills needed to write a first draft. You'll learn how to open your novel, build tension, plant seeds, use dialogue correctly, and wrap things up for the final scene. You'll have the opportunity to finish either a half-draft (of half of your novel) or a rough "in-progress" draft during the twelve weeks. At the end of this workshop, you will have accomplished every writer's goal - an "in-progress" working first draft. G. Miki Hayden teaches the online class starting on Thursday, June 16th.

"I like teaching 12 Weeks to a First Draft because it allows writers to really dig in and explore their ideas for a first or second novel. This class inspires students to focus and stay on track. Writing on your own is great, but sometimes writers get lost in the process or let things go. Here's a class that's a motivator and will help students write a big chunk of the novel--not the whole first draft, of course, but a big chunk. Not to mention that I'm definitely glad to address chronic style problems with students and help them find more professional ways to write. I also like to explain the markets a little if people need to rethink what audiences and publishers they're writing for."

  ~ G. Miki Hayden

One student said, "Miki is the best writing teacher I've ever had." Another student said, "The instructor, Miki, went over my work carefully. She marked her suggestions on my writing all the way from beginning to end.I am not experienced in fiction writing, but I know that my writing improved as a result of my following the course and paying attention to her corrections." Commit twelve weeks of your time to writing your first draft. Students are encouraged to share their work with the rest of the class. Many students like to take this course more than once.
The course system is open 24 hours a days so that class members can work on their own time. There is no scheduled time to meet. WDU Students come from all corners of the world and can log in when it is convenient. Assignments in this class are due every Sunday night.

Make progress on your first draft. Join the 12 Weeks to a First Draft Workshop. Enroll Today!
All upcoming courses can be viewed at this link.

Thank you for being part of the writing community.
Register for 12 Weeks to a First Draft Today!
G. Miki Hayden
G. Miki Hayden has published mystery, science fiction, and young adult novels with a rave review in the New York Times for her alternate history novel, Pacific Empire. She also has two writing instructionals in print-and her Writing the Mystery was nominated for three genre awards, winning one. Miki has published a steady stream of short fiction in several genres and received an Edgar for her story "The Maids." Miki was nominated for a Macavity for the story "War Crimes."

Miki's novels prove that "genre" stories can have mainstream appeal. Her first, Pacific Empire (JoNa Books), is an alternate history that appeared on the 1998 New York Times summer reading list. Her second novel, By Reason of Insanity (Free Range Press), is a mystery of psychological suspense that one reviewer has called "[a] precise and compassionate account of the escalation of psychological illnesses."Her New Pacific, in which an investigator tracks a missing scientist, is set in 2031.

The Heroine's Journey, Miki's YA paranormal in which two girls reach across time and space to become friends, has been bought by Noble Young Adult.

Read full bio >>

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Upcoming Workshops
Starting June 16
Starting June 23
12 Weeks to a First Draft
Writing Nonfiction: Fundamentals
Creative Writing 101
Writing the Romance Novel
Fundamentals of Fiction
Writing Personal Essays 101
Getting Started in Writing
Writing the Mystery Novel
Short Story Fundamentals
Build Your Novel Scene by Scene
Professional Copyediting
Creativity and Expression
The Art of Storytelling 102: Showing vs. Telling
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