Is winging it completely alright when you are just writing the first draft of a soon-to-be and possibly complex novel?

Let’s say you are about to write a fiction novel where you know it is going to be more complex than your previous novels. You want to save all the heavy researching and reading for once you are done with the novel. However, that mean that you will be winging it for the first draft. When it comes time to edit, you’ll be more aware of what you need to research/watch/read for it because you will be ready. Yet all you wanted to do was write the first draft without any problems because you are merely releasing the ideas from your mind and letting your creative juice flow. You know how you want some things to be and you have a general idea, but you want to just write freely till you have to do the complicated stuff later.

Now, does that seem fair or would it make more sense to just research the things you need so that you rough/first draft makes some sense to you?

However, if you do decide to wing it in the first draft, what is truly the worst thing that can happen to you other than headaches?

What are your thoughts?


No, I’m like a bird, I wing everything!




I need some advice. You got any, Mr. Bird?

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Yep, honestly just get the first draft out, and see how it goes. I’m working on one from a rough outline now, and I am gonna polish it up after I enter the Wattys at some point. I just wanna see if I can throw out 50k in less than a month, am at 23k now. Hoping to be at 25-26k by the end of the day.


Thank you.

Now, I just gotta wait for someone to tell me different…

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If the first draft doesn’t see the light of day it’s okay I guess. And by that I mean your probably going to end up with a lot of people correcting those complex things you try to include, confused people and people who are upset that you don’t explain things.

You’ll just have a lot of editing to do and might end up changing most of the story to make it accurate. I’m definitely the type of person who would take at least one day to research things and then begin writing. As it will take less time in the end and won’t result in the frustration of leaving it until you care enough to add the actual research into the book.

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That makes sense. I don’t plan on showing the first draft of the story at all. I don’t even know I am going to show this story period. This is purely guilty pleasure writing just to see if I could try my very own version of this.

So, I am unsure at the moment. Yet this is definitely something I would rather keep to myself for a really long time being…until my mind changes.

Omg we were talking about this in class yesterday so great timing :joy:

So, with the first draft, you can totally wing it. You’re just writing down what you want to happen, getting all your ideas out etc. If you feel you need to check some facts, check them as you need to. First draft, it really doesn’t matter.

Short version: the point of the first draft is to write. the point of the second draft is to make it look like you knew what you were doing the entire time


Thank you so much!

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This is how I’ve always done it. I save the heavy research for later and just get the first draft out by winging everything. It’s more important to get the ideas down on paper (so to speak) first, then worry about fixing it to make better sense later.


Usually I don’t realize it’s going to be complex until half-way in :stuck_out_tongue:

But let’s say I already know it’s going to be complex. Well, it depends on what part I think is going to be complex. If it’s the plot, nah, I just pants it. Just wing it. But if it’s the magic system, I wing it until it gets complex and then I might take some notes.

Overall, I wing it 90% of the time because every story I’ve planned, I can’t write.

Yes. This is what I always do. Editing is where the real world building happens :wink: It’s fun…in a painful sweat and blood kind of way XD

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Would you say you’re a pantser?

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lol, I like this XD

“No, no. Not a happy little accident. Pshh. I meant for that to happen :grinning:


I mean, that’s exactly what my professor said we should say :rofl:


Yes, especially if you’re waffling or not sure what you want to do. Because if it doesn’t flow out easily from winging it, then you’re going to notice “this part needs work” due to being harder to write.

Sometimes this first draft done like this, in a reread, is so bad you toss the whole thing out and redo it, better. But in all honesty: everyone who is in early writing hasn’t found their niche or strong point (this isn’t the same as writing a masterpiece, as most of us won’t ever), just early writing is figuring ourselves out, and that’s the benefit of just diving in.

The worst that could happen is you find out you absolutely cannot pants.

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It is funny you mentioned this. I did a little to no plotting with my anthology and just winged it overall.

So, I guess I am a planster or what it is. LOL!

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whatever works for you works, there’s a whole group of writers who just wing the first draft aka pantsers. Word vomit on the page, as long as you recognize that you must go back and properly research stuff when you’re editing it’s fine.

The worst thing I could foresee happening other than headaches is maybe realizing that your interpretation of something is completely different from the actual thing. Like maybe you meant to write about WWII but actually wrote in a lot of stuff more relevant to WWI and correcting that completely changes the story. But really if you put the work in you’ll still have a story at the end so it’s not a complete loss.

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Nothing that complicated. LOL! Yet I get your point.

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