I know what you are thinking, wait? You found the perfect idea, crafted an amazing outline, and bust out that first draft like a boss. You are immensely excited about your work and want to push it to the finish line! That’s great but now you need to take a step back.
You might be tempted to jump into editing your masterpiece, but taking the time away will give you a fresh set of eyes. You will come back to your draft able to see more small errors and plot holes when you are less familiar with the piece.
I’m not asking you to wait a super long time. Give yourself a week to rest and mull over exactly what you want out of your completed manuscript. I like to read a book or binge on all the shows I missed while fussing over the start of my work. Then when I am fuzzy on the details, I get back to work.
So wait! Maybe check out and Subscribe to the Serpentine Creative Channel on Youtube. Then check back here next week for the first steps in the editing process.
The magical utopia of Ceres and its inhabitants, the Aura,
have been a well-guarded secret until
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
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?
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 since there if you don’t have completed work.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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
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.
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