My Worst #Writing Bad Habits: Using Find/Replace to Scrub the First #Draft – Tips from K.M. Pohlkamp

Some of the most overused words in my writing are was, have been, or trying to find a better way to say smile or grin. A thesaurus is helpful in some aspects. But it only replaces the word with another. What I like about the example given, is it prompts a mental picture for the reader and evokes feeling and a connection.

K.M. Pohlkamp - Author Website

The first draft is finished. Great! Um… now what?

I am often asked about my “writing process” and the more I write the more procedural it becomes – it is the engineer in me.

Getting the first draft on paper/electrons is a monumental task. And if nanowrimo and write sprints have taught me anything, it’s that snails could crawl over the keyboard faster than I write. So when the words are flowing, the last thing I want to do is disrupt my train of thought by editing.  But when the words flow, my bad writing habits tend to sneak in. That’s OK, a first draft is just getting the story down so it can be molded.

But it needs molding.

So after completing a first draft, the next step in my personal writing process is a systematic scrub for my worst writing habits. I have a list of my issues and…

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Things I Learned From Finishing the First #Draft: Pearls of Wisdom from the Quippish Quill

Wonderful insight! I never thought of writing being like a relationship. The metaphor is perfect!

Quippish Quill

After 6 embarrassing years and a graveyard of unfinished WIPs, I finally finished my first draft today! Yes, that’s right. It actually took me the better half of a decade to finish a measly first draft that barely clocks in at 40k words. I blame my perfectionism and Netflix. To commemorate this rare occasion, I thought I’d write down the hard-fought lessons I learned.

Disclaimer: These are lessons I learned that worked for me. They obviously won’t work for everyone. I don’t claim to have universal writing advice that will apply to every writer out there. With that disclaimer out of the way, let’s get to it!

firstDraft

Passion Will Only Get You So Far

Writing a book is a lot like being in a relationship. In the beginning, everything is perfect. You’re crazy in love and blind to your partner’s flaws and you’re both busy barfing rainbows at each…

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My creative process: writing the first #draft

My creative process seems random.  Either I’m awaken in the middle of the night with an idea, a dream sparks a story, or I’m driving along and a concept hits me in the face. Whatever the means, I write down the first things that flood my mind.  Then I go into planning mode to outline the story.

Once the outline is complete, I research the characters, locations, and any other relevant details.  For instance, I’ve Googled houses so that I could best describe the home of one of my characters.  Or if the character lives in a city or state I’m not familiar, I’ll look into the culture and atmosphere so that the story is authentic.

With the outline and research, the magic can begin.  I take a chapter at a time which is about 2000-3000 words (give or take).  I let my mind flow according to the summation listed in the outline.  Then I comb over it for adverbs and to be verbs, sentence rhythm, and sensory detail to add depth.  So I guess in a way I’m doing a first and second draft in one setting. 😉

Photos: Takeshi Obata, Carla Oliverira, Ida Auclond

Ida Auclond

01-obata-int-splshBakuman illustration by Takeshi Obata

Learning about people’s creative process or “watching them create” is one of my favourite things. I’ve spent hours watching  YouTube videos of Takeshi Obata just drawing (he’s the mangaka who drew Hikaru no Go, Death Note and Bakuman, among other things). So I thought today I’d talk about my own creative process, because it’s fun to share and because maybe next year or in two or three years I’ll look back to this post and be amazed at how much my process has changed. Or not.

The idea

It all starts with an idea. It can come from vastly different things: a passer-by can sprout a character, a feeling can become a theme, etc. You have ideas, you know what I mean.

The daydream

There is a kind of natural selections in my ideas. I almost don’t consciously “choose” which one I’ll pursue, I…

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To #Prologue, or Not to Prologue

Great post! I’ve read about the controversies on prologues in the past. And I agree that some writers use it when a first chapter will do.

But what stuck out to me from your post is using prologues for certain genres. I hadn’t considered that, but it makes a lot of sense. Thanks for sharing the insight.

Singular Fiction

A while back I was doing some research and I stumbled across a debate I didn’t even know existed: whether or not to start a book with a prologue. For some writers out there, a prologue is almost a de facto way of writing; at one point I considered myself one of them. Surprisingly, I discovered that there’s an entire group of people out there who not only dislike using prologues, they advocate against using them. On top of that, my greatest fears were realized when I read about readers who would skip them entirely.

The drawbacks of writing them.
Besides readers that skip over them, prologues often are misused by too many writers. They become these odd creatures that just happen to be at the start of a book but don’t really have anything to do with the rest of the work at all. Fiction is the only…

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Anaphora Paragraphing?

I would love to see the research on this topic!  There have been many a time I’ve written something only to notice the same word starting each paragraph.  And when reading it, it sounded just as off as it looked on the screen.

San Giacomo's Corner

 

A dictionary definition of “Anaphora” would state, the repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of successive verses, clauses, or paragraphs.

“We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and on the streets, we shall fight in the hills.” – Winston Churchill

“This blessed plot, this Earth, this realm, this England.” – William Shakespeare

From the above examples, you can see how this technique is used for a heightened dramatic effect.

penand paper

The word “paragraph” in the definition poses a bit of a problem. Other language / writing guru’s like Hofmann referred to the paragraph as a natural barrier to anaphora. Creativity Hacker refers to starting paragraphs with the same word whether consecutively or just too often as “Echoing Headwords.” This concept seems to apply to both paragraphs and consecutive sentences.

Let’s say that your MC is…

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‘Is it Drafty in Here?’ or ‘What’s in a #Draft?’


Very interesting approach to drafting. It definitely sounds focused and thorough.

Photo: (Explore #409!) via photopin (license)

Panning For Clouds

This article is posted to Page2Print.

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Last year I wrote an article about the differences between writing and editing framed through athletic activities. I’d like to talk this time more specifically about the process I use in all the various editing drafts, and why I break up editing the way I do. It’s a time-intensive process, to be sure, but it certainly is effective in producing the best possible story I am capable of producing. So strap in and don’t mind the pun.

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What is Good Writing? …

It is true that good writing is the lynchpin for the success of a story.  I enjoyed this post because of the essential rules outlines and the simplicity in getting the point across.  Great job!

The Lingering Lamb

BLOG 23 image

Good writing is essential for everyone. Whether news columns, blogs, or fictional stories, authors should always abide by three basic rules to convey vibrant messages.

Rule One: Understand Grammar Concepts.

Regardless of writing style, authors must use correct grammar. Sentences — even entire paragraphs — can easily be misinterpreted when the writer does not execute proper grammar. Commas, semicolons, and periods are critical for separating thoughts and even for emphasizing key points.

Rule Two: Less is More

Many write to impress rather than to accurately inform. Instead of writing a clear, straight forward message, they try to impress readers with long sentences and “fancy” vocabulary. These writers don’t realize that the best way to convey anything is to explain it simply, using few words if possible.

Rule Three: Appeal to the Senses

This rule mostly applies to creative writing. When someone is reading a creative story, he wants to feel involved. It’s the…

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