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This article is going to be a little more pep talk than informative. Writing the first draft is a significant accomplishment for any writer. It’s the first chance to see where that idea in your head is going to go. Even if you have outlined your story to death, surprises are sure to come when you finally put pen to paper.
Here is a list of “rules” I use to get my first draft completed with as little hair pulling and head bashing as possible.
Rule 1: Don’t sweat the small stuff
The first draft isn’t supposed to be perfect. Don’t fret if not all your characters have the perfect names or one scene doesn’t quite fit the way you hoped.
Rule 2: Don’t Edit
If you are anything like me, you may be tempted to polish that paragraph a bit. Fix those spelling errors and minor grammar issues as you go. Don’t do it. Not only will it slow the writing process but how will you know if your paragraph makes
Rule 3: Don’t talk about Write Club
It may be super tempting to discuss your cool ideas with friends, family, and fellow writers. While it’s not always bad to bounce ideas off people when you get stuck on something, it can also lead to second-guessing your plan.
Rule 4: Deadlines are suggestions
Unless you have a publisher breathing down your neck, take your time. Getting the first draft done is arguably the best part of the writing process. The time when your imagination should be able to roam free and mingle with your excitement to write. Take your time and smell the pages.
Rule 5: Just write!
You can’t have a first draft if you never write it in the first place. Writing is hardly the best time and best place sort of activity. Get your words in whenever you can and don’t be afraid to mix things up to help you get in the writing groove.
Now that you know the “rules” for completing your first draft, it’s time to get writing!
I randomly felt like writing a poem. If you follow this blog you know I attempted a ten day poetry challenge last year with mixed results. I swore off posting poetry from that time on but hey it’s a new day. I hope you enjoy!
Big Black Chapters is hosting a Facebook Live event featuring Stella Williams! Tune in Saturday, February 9th, 2019 at
I am not going to get into the Plotter or Pantser debate in this post. I am simply going to provide my opinion on outlining in the process of writing. Now that you have an Idea of what you want to write, it’s time to get those ideas organized. How you organize them, like everything else in writing, is based on your personal preference.
Ways I Outline
Get the bigger picture and find some wall space! It doesn’t have to be an entire wall but maybe the size of a large wall calendar. Give yourself enough space to expand with as much or as little detail as you see fit.
Use note cards both physical and virtual! Note cards work great when you need to shuffle ideas around. Most writing specific software includes a note card format in their outline section for that reason.
Remember your outline doesn’t have to be fancy or complex. A simple line graph can be just as effective for some people. Outlining is a key step that shouldn’t be skipped. A good working outline will not only help you create your masterpiece in record time, but will help streamline the editing process.
FEROCIOUS: A Secret of Ceres Novel
I am super excited to announce the launch of my new series Secret of Ceres! The first novel Ferocious is scheduled to be released March 14th, 2019. Ebook version is available for Pre-Order Now!
Pre-Order Your Copy Today!
The magical utopia of Ceres and its inhabitants, the Aura, have been a well-guarded secret until now…
Farrah Andromeda is taking charge of her life outside of the Sanctuary of Ceres. A headstrong Aura PI she spends most of her day chasing cheats and scoundrels. At least until she’s tasked with a top-secret mission by one of the Ruling Four. A young Aura is missing, and the Farrah is determined to bring the family the answers they crave. Even if she has to suffer the oversight of sexy Security Force officer Donovan Mars to do so.
When Donovan Mars is summoned by a member of the Ruling Four for a secret investigation, the last thing he expects is to be partnered with Farrah Andromeda. Known for her reckless behavior and lack of decorum, Farrah is the exact opposite of what Donovan would want in a partner. He is determined not to be distracted by her beauty and unexpected charm.
Can the two avoid setting their world on fire as the mystery unfolds and sparks between them begin to fly?
Ideas are Key!
Before you even put pen to paper or finger to keyboard, you need to have an idea. Some call it a spark of genius, others just dumb luck. No matter how it gets to your brain, that is where the magic starts. Here are a few ways I get my ideas flowing.
Television and Movies
I am a sucker for Korean drama! Give me a Kpop idol crush any day and it’s bound to put sappy romantic ideas in my head. There is a reason why fanfiction is so popular. Even the best plots can deal with a little tweaking or continuation. Just remember to put your own spin on things to avoid plagiarism.
Ever have a day that turned out crazier than anyone would believe? Well, guess what? You just found a new story or poetry idea. Your local news outlet might have some crazy story ideas for you too.
Maybe you don’t have time for inspiration to just strike or you’re feeling a tad lazy on the imagination front. There are plenty of places online to find writing prompts. My favorite places are Reddit and Google. Seriously! Just google writing prompt and your preferred style/genre. I dare you.
Random word generator– There are several random word generators online that give you a handful of words to test your creative ability.
Now that you’ve gotten a few ideas on where to get ideas, it’s time to bust out your favorite writing tool(s) and get to work! Feel free to share your muse magic in the comments.
For a limited time, Claude’s Conquest will be 99 cents on the Amazon Kindle store!
If you are an avid reader like me, it can really have an effect on your bank account. Here are my top places to get bargain books.
- The Library– Of course, the library is the number one place to get books. Not only is it free to borrow physical books but most libraries have expanded to loaning out ebooks as well. On top of borrowing books, public libraries may also have a small section of books for sale or for free. These books are typically older books that are no longer being checked out at a rate sustainable for the library. Bonus if the books are for sale you will know that you are contributing to your local library programs and collection.
- The Dollar Store– Brand New books for $1! Heck, yes! Most of the books are overstock or lesser known titles. My local store typically carries general fiction, mystery, religious, and self-help titles. Of course, the availability and selection will depend on the store in your area.
Checking Out Titles at the Dollar Store!
- Thrift Store– Books are generally priced in the $5 and below range. There are books of all genres typically available. The downside is the quality of the book. There is no guarantee that pages won’t be marked up, have personalized stickers and stamps from strangers and occasionally a missing page or two. So while it’s a great place for books on a budget be sure to check the book thoroughly for damage.
- Grocery Store Clearance Bins– Grocery stores usually only sell best sellers, and there is a high rate of rotation. That means you can generally find brand new bestsellers on clearance from 10% up to 50% off the cover price.
So many Books at the Thrift Store
- Bookstore Clearance– Brick and Mortar bookstores are fifth on the list because they generally have lower discount rates on their books. You may pay more at a local bookstore than larger chain stores, but I like to shop local as much as possible.
- The Internet– The internet is last on my list simply because you can’t physically inspect your book before it arrives. Even more reputable dealers like Amazon and Barnes and Nobles can have bad print runs with blurry covers or cut off text.
Where do you get your bargain books? Drop suggestions and links in the comments!
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