What I need all you writers to understand is there is nothing wrong with a messy, dirty first draft. This is a part of the process–the underbelly as it were. It is the underbelly of writing that mines your intent.
Here is what that means.
The greatest power of a draft is intent–the driving force behind your writing. Your first draft flushes out (read: mines–like digging for precious gems) your idea in its most raw form.
But it is not impossible. What bares remembering and repeating is the shortest story and the longest story, are still written letter by letter, word by word. Do no despise the small beginnings, the false starts, the double-backing and the imposter syndrome.
Commit to the next word, the next sentence, next paragraph and next paragraphs and the next pages. Be ruthless with the work–and take no prisoners. Take all words captive.
Character development: How are you going to develop them?
Just like you must have an idea for the structure of you story, the same goes for your characters, their settings and even the scenarios they find themselves in. The key thing to remember is watch out for troupes what will limit the growth of your characters; stereotypes that will stunt other characters and not give them depth; if you are writing cross-culturally (a white writer writing Black character for example), make sure that you have invested time and effort into seeking out someone from that culture/ethnicity/background to read your work!
Why? Blind spots.
You don’t want a work to be offensive to other people when it does not have to be! Having someone read for cultural sensitivity will allow for feedback in a safe space where you can ask questions, get feedback and revise as needed! Your characters are brought to life your imagination—and that imagination may represent a real person. Write wisely.
Note: For sensitivity read-throughs, contact Anette King through her site, The Blurb Diva.
*Point to character/character development; WHO do you want to see?
Imagination + Character= Representation
Representation will always matter, especially in the media. This type of visibility grants those whom identify as any minority to see themselves in places where they may not have been before.
This is invaluable.
The award-winning writer Walter Mosley said that in order for a minority person to exist in the culture they have to exist in the fiction. Think of it this way—identity is existing! It is existence! It is mirror and a door in a world that doesn’t want people whom are not part of acceptable majority to see themselves outside of stereotypes! Your characters provide an existence, even in the face of a world that doesn’t want you to exist!
When you create your story it is a sense of identity, even if you leave pieces of yourself in it. In the immortal words of Beyonce’ Giselle Knowles Carter, “I was here.” The people that hide in your head and talk to you through ink or screen—they deserve to be here, too.
Give them the chance to be in the world that you inhabit. Rest assured that someone needs to see them—in order to see themselves.