This article’s aim is to teach you how to draft a novel. That’s a pretty vague statement and begs a lot of questions. What’s a draft? What work or planning do you have to do before you start drafting? Can you just sit down and start putting pen to paper and expect a draft to miraculously show up? How many drafts do you need to write in order to get a “finished” novel?
First and foremost, a draft is simply a version of a manuscript, and there will be many versions along the way to a finish novel ready for publication (or whatever other plans you have for it). The purpose of a first draft is to bring your story kicking and screaming into existence—nothing more. It has to exist before your story can be molded and perfected into its final form. You have to start somewhere, and you also need a blank canvas on which to discover your story, a place where anything is possible and anything can happen. You may have a vision in your head, but you don’t kn