dialogue, Dirty Draft, NaNoWriMo, Pomodoro Technique, Writing your Book

Writing Your Book, Part Five—Getting Down And Dirty…

One of my three top tips in Part One of Writing Your Book is to create a “dirty” draft. This involves dashing off the first version of your book as fast as you can. 

If your writing time is limited, concentrate your creative energy on getting words down, rather than building images in your readers’ minds. The fun of doing that comes later, when you refine and polish your completed story.

Adapt the Pomodoro technique to help you squeeze every second out of your writing time. That is, set a kitchen timer for thirty minutes, write as fast as you can until the alarm goes off, then take a ten-minute break.

Don’t worry about adding details of your characters’ appearance, or your story’s setting at this stage. You’ll be going back over your work to add this later, along with research details, and spelling, grammar and punctuation checks. 

Getting your thoughts down in words in a high speed stream has some great advantages. You see real progress, fast. There’s nothing like a rapidly growing word count to feed your enthusiasm. Making a note of your daily word count is a real incentive to beat that figure the next time you sit down to write. If you’re taking part in NaNoWriMo, feeding that figure into the community makes you part of the successful process.
“Let me have this one night with you, to remember…”
or http://bit.ly/2euCc60 (US)

The feeling of satisfaction is amazing. When you forge ahead, trying to do as much as you can in the shortest possible time, you carve straight through those nasty briar patches marked doubt and delay threatening to block the path of every writer. Think of an icebreaker ploughing through the Southern Ocean. Keep your head down, and keep going.

You’re never lost for words. It’s impossible to edit a blank page, but once you get something down in black and white, you can go back and develop your work by adding colour, detail and shades of meaning. Conflict drives the best stories, and its most reliable power source is dialogue between great characters. Put their emotions and arguments down into conversation. You can worry about the scenery later. 

The line of dialogue; …let me have this one night with you, to remember… popped into my head as I woke up one morning. I built the story of Heart Of A Hostage around it by imagining how that conversation started, and how it would end. By writing that out as fast as I could, I made a commitment to write the book which has become one of my favourites. 
Creative Writing, dialogue, Dirty Draft, inspiration

Three Top Tips For Moving Your Writing On…

By Antonio Litterio

1. DRIVE THAT DRY: When you’ve had a run of successful writing sessions,  it comes as a shock when you hit a dry patch.  Don’t panic.  The act of writing is like holding handfuls of sand: the harder you try, the more effort you put in, the closer to impossible it gets.  The first blank sheet, or coming back after a break, is always tough. Forget what you planned to write. Instead, plunge straight in to writing your most exciting scene. It doesn’t matter if it’s out of context, just get something down on paper. This works on the sink or swim principle. It may just take a prod to make the words start flowing again. If that doesn’t work, there’s a point when sitting and suffering is pointless. Visit your own particular well of inspiration, even if it’s only snatching a nap or taking a walk. Chill out. Stop and smell the flowers. Sometimes you achieve more by trying less. 

2. PLAY FAST AND DIRTY:    When you’re first grabbed by an idea, don’t get bogged down in detail. As long as you’ve done the groundwork on your characters and conflicts, try this. Charge straight through your story, writing only the dialogue. Scribble away as fast as you can, getting down on paper or screen all the juiciest exchanges. Start the beginning, and work right through to the end. You’re not looking to write the whole novel at this stage. You’ll probably change a million things about it before you’re satisfied with your final draft, but that’s in the future. What you want at this stage is a big boost to your self-esteem. The explosion of your idea into visible words will power you on to the finish.

3. FINE TUNE THE FUTURE: Your first, “dirty” draft captures all the interpersonal, edge of the seat stuff – the interplay of character and conflicts that first got your idea up and running. If you’ve invested in plenty of thinking time and done your research, your second draft should be pure pleasure. Go back over your work word by word, and line by line. Use your character sketches to make sure everyone is doing and saying the things they should – or at least, in the way they should. Season your writing with a dash description, and a lot of character development. Let your fictional people drive their story on.  Crank up the conflict. Make them laugh and cry, and you’ll make your completed story a guaranteed page turner. 

For more writing tips, visit my website by clicking here. You can sign up for my occasional newsletter by mailing me at christinahollis@hotmail(dot)co(dot)uk, putting “NEWSLETTER” in the subject line.