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First Draft, the Best Place to Start
Rule #1 - First drafts are always both worse than you wish and better than you think.
Rule #2 - You have a hero. He has the most at stake. He wants it to work out.
Rule #3 - Some One or some Thing(s) want to stop him.
Thumb Rule #0 - Even though, “they won’t succeed,” is a pretty good Rule #4, Too Many Rules Stop You From Writing Your Story is more important.
As soon as you’re following rules, someone else is writing your story for you. When your soul discovers that this has happened, you will start to despise your story.
Hypocrisy is like that. It seeps out.
Soulless is what most “how to write” writing ends up being. That’s because no one can give you a checklist for finding your voice. And, until you find your voice, the magical elbow grease that personal understanding provides to finish all good stories will elude you.
You are not going to find a hero worth following at the end of a checklist.
That doesn’t mean that reading about writing, or writing about writing, is a waste of time. It only means that such reading and writing has zero to smidgens value until your soul is at liberty to love what you write for no other reason than that you have written it.
This is important because you will need to destroy most of it. First drafts are always both worse than you wish and better than you think. You must love what you write enough to hunger to go back and change it, to rewrite it, to compel it to say what you meant until when others read it they see what you know was there from the beginning.
So, Thumb Rule #1 for finding your soul is remembering that have something at stake. You have something to lose. You have dreams. You’re on the hunt. There is still something out there. You must discover. It’s a good chase. What sport!
It may only be your ordinary life after all, but you’re still at the center of it, and that means, no matter who you are, you’ve got a few stories to tell.
And, you have an enemy. Or three.
In storytelling, enemies are the essence of character. Without the enemy, you have no character. Without character, your character has no story worth telling.
The First Draft is the best place to start anyway.