Jan 6, 2010

Once Upon a Time? by Fiona Palmer

Once Upon a Time?

How to start that very first sentence on your first draft.

Well that is usually the first thing that comes to me…luckily. I have already written out the first two pages of my third novel because it came to me in the car on our three and a half hour trip home from Perth. This is usually where my ideas start and then they build from there. What will this girl do, what will happen next? Then I like to draft up a synopsis, or outline of the main things in the book.

From time to time, another idea may come up and I’ll slot it in somewhere. I have a very distinct idea of how the story will go and I very rarely change it. I may add extra little dramas in here and there to keep the story exciting but the outcome is still the same.

I start writing from chapter one and work my way through till the last chapter.
At times you come to those horrible parts in your story where you have to fill in before you can get to the next exciting bit. Most times I just dribble out rubbish, just to have something on the page so I can get to the bit I want to write. Half the time I find that what I end up writing isn’t so bad after all and more often than not stays there. (The key is to keep tying, just let stuff flow!)

I’m a big lover of books and especially movies so plots come relatively easily. But don’t ask me about grammar and spelling…I was away from school when they were teaching that! I like getting to the end of a first draft, it’s exciting but only for a day…then the panic sets in…is it crap?!

Then I’m not happy with it and find it’s not flowing right, there’s tension missing here and with a few extra chapters added I usually end up feeling a bit better before sending it off to a Publisher to get their views.

Main thing I can offer to others is just to keep writing, no matter what…even if it is crap…it’s a start!


My name if Fiona Palmer and I write Rural Romance. I live in the tiny town of Pingaring in Western Australia, (near Wave Rock).

I’m thirty, with two small kids aged 6 and 4. I had my first novel printed with Penguin and I’ve just finished my first draft on my second novel. Please visit my website www.fionapalmer.com


  1. Hi Fiona, sounds like you have a very clear idea where your stories are headed. I had to laugh when you said there are times when you 'dribble out rubbish'... I know that feeling and you're right, if you just let the words flow more often than not they take on a life of their own!

    Congrats on finishing your first draft - now the fun begins!!

  2. Hi Fiona, I love that you have a clear idea of where your story is heading. I never do!
    And I live by your advice...keep writing, even if you think it's crap because every word can't be crap, can it? There's sure to be gold in amongst the clay.

  3. Thanks Helene and Lisa. Its great to have such a supportive network of writers. I, for one, feel very lucky. xx