5 Types of Rough Drafts

By Michelle Griep, @MichelleGriep

Last week I finished a rough draft of my newest novel. You think you know what I mean, right? Well, maybe not, little cowboy. What a rough draft means to me might mean something totally different to you, and sure as heck is not the same as what Great Aunt Martha thinks it is. So today we’re going to do some defining . . .

5 Types of Rough Drafts

Word Vomit

Sorry for the visual. Think of this one as stream of consciousness type of writing. An amplified version.A type-anything-and-everything-because-hot-dang-something-might-be-great-in-this-mess kind of mindset. Most often this is the type of first draft accomplished by partaking in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).

Tighty Whitey

Bare bones. Tight writing. So tight, in fact, that there’s lots of white space because this is only the essence of a story. There will have to be lots of additional information added. Basically, it’s a glorified synopsis.

Practically Perfect

This puppy takes a long time to write because plot flow, words, and characters are well thought out, not just slapped down willy-nilly. Sure, there will be a few nits to comb out, but overall this rough draft is about as smooth as a baby’s behind.

Screenplay

Some writers pen only dialogue on their first pass of a book. They simply put their characters on stage and let them talk. Settings and character descriptions will be added in later.

Outline on Steroids

This is the opposite of the screenplay approach. Basically, it’s a this-happens-then-that-happens live-action play for the entire story.

The thing to note about all these approaches is that there isn’t any one “right” way to go about penning your first draft. All are valid. As for me, I’m of the Practically Perfect persuasion, and not just because it’s fun to say. I’m just a little OCD that way.

TWEETABLES


12 Days at Bleakly Manor

Imprisoned unjustly, BENJAMIN LANE wants nothing more than freedom and a second chance to claim the woman he loves—but how can CLARA CHAPMAN possibly believe in the man who stole her family’s fortune and abandoned her at the altar? Brought together under mysterious circumstances for the Twelve Days of Christmas, Clara and Ben discover that what they’ve been striving for isn’t what ultimately matters . . . and what matters most is love.

Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She is the author of historical romances: The Innkeeper’s Daughter, 12 Days at Bleakly Manor, The Captive Heart, Brentwood’s Ward, A Heart Deceived, Undercurrent andGallimore, but also leaped the historical fence into the realm of contemporary with the zany romantic mystery Out of the Frying Pan. If you’d like to keep up with her escapades, find her at www.michellegriep.com or stalk her on FacebookTwitter, or Pinterest.the next level.

3 Ingredients of a Great Writer

By Michelle Griep, @MichelleGriep

It’s November. That means thousands of writers are pounding away at their keyboards this month, hoping their manuscript will become the next #1 NY Times Bestseller.

See what I have in my hand, kids? It’s a pin. A sharp, pointy silver rod of death, and I’m stabbing balloon after balloon. Pop. Pop. Pop. Because the ugly truth is there’s only one thing that makes for a great bestseller and that’s a great writer. And there are three ingredients that go into all the greats. Look deep inside, little writer, and see if you have the makings or if you’re short an egg or two . . .

3 Ingredients of a Great Writer

1 – Guts

There’s a fine line between knowing writing rules and being hog-tied by them. It takes courage to cross the line now and then and break those rules. That implies you must first know what the “rules” are, but at some point you need to let go and freefall into your writing. Take risks. Stop caring if your story gets published. Write for the breath-stealing exhilaration of creation.

2-Reading

Great writers read. Excessively. And in all genres. There’s something to be said for osmosis. Reading great writing tends to come out as great writing.

3-Time

This is the ingredient everyone wants to skip, especially all the bright-eyed newbies out there who think their first manuscript is God’s gift to mankind. It takes time to become a great writer. Blood. Sweat. Tears. Lots and lots of chocolate and weeping. Granted, the timeline isn’t the same for all writers, but it’s a rare genius who gallops out of the gate into novel stardom. Most pay their dues one year at a time, critique by critique, workshop by workshop. Slow down, little cowboy, and enjoy the ride.

If you’re missing one of these ingredients, don’t despair. Just work toward the one you need most. Stick with it, because there’s a kingpin of all ingredients inside every great writer: perseverance.


12 Days at Bleakly Manor

Imprisoned unjustly, BENJAMIN LANE wants nothing more than freedom and a second chance to claim the woman he loves—but how can CLARA CHAPMAN possibly believe in the man who stole her family’s fortune and abandoned her at the altar? Brought together under mysterious circumstances for the Twelve Days of Christmas, Clara and Ben discover that what they’ve been striving for isn’t what ultimately matters . . . and what matters most is love.

Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She is the author of historical romances: The Innkeeper’s Daughter, 12 Days at Bleakly Manor, The Captive Heart, Brentwood’s Ward, A Heart Deceived, Undercurrent andGallimore, but also leaped the historical fence into the realm of contemporary with the zany romantic mystery Out of the Frying Pan. If you’d like to keep up with her escapades, find her at www.michellegriep.com or stalk her on FacebookTwitter, or Pinterest.the next level.

5 Motivational Writer Hacks

By Michelle Griep, @MichelleGriep

The first few weeks of NaNoWriMo are drawing to a close. Some have already crashed and burned in a fiery explosion of defeat. Others are limping along, hoping to make it but wondering if they’ve got what it takes. That’s who this post is for. The dragging. The lame. Those with the sweet-mercy-I’m-going-to-fail demon screaming in their ears. Here’s a lifeline for you. Grab on.

5 MOTIVATIONAL WRITER HACKS

1 – Play some music.

There’s a reason movies have soundtracks. It’s inspirational. Put some moving music on in the background while you write. Don’t have any? Pop over to Spotify or Pandora for some free online music (as long as you don’t mind advertisements every half hour or so). Or toodle over to the library and get some CD’s.

2 -Shut off the internet. 

Facebook, Twitter, Drudge, YouTube . . . these are the giant, sucking leaches draining your creativity. Stop the madness. Shut off your WiFi connection. Don’t worry—your social media buddies will still be there in December.

3-Take a walk.

Staring at a screen for hours on end isn’t healthy. Stretch your legs while you work out a plot point. Breathe in some fresh air when fleshing out a quirky character. You’ll be surprised at how just a short walk can get the ol’ writerly juices flowing again.

4-Sleep.

Question: who can think straight when careening through life on only a few hours of sleep?

Answer: no one

Lesson: Don’t stay up late writing thinking you’re going to pound out a great novel. Your productivity will be compromised.

5-Psych yourself up.

Don’t just walk away from the keyboard when you’ve finished today’s word count. Think about tomorrow’s. Rev yourself up about the next scene. If you’re not excited to write it, your reader won’t be excited to read it.

Perseverance is the key to making it to the NaNoWriMo finish line. Keep plugging away.


12 Days at Bleakly Manor

Imprisoned unjustly, BENJAMIN LANE wants nothing more than freedom and a second chance to claim the woman he loves—but how can CLARA CHAPMAN possibly believe in the man who stole her family’s fortune and abandoned her at the altar? Brought together under mysterious circumstances for the Twelve Days of Christmas, Clara and Ben discover that what they’ve been striving for isn’t what ultimately matters . . . and what matters most is love.

Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She is the author of historical romances: The Innkeeper’s Daughter, 12 Days at Bleakly Manor, The Captive Heart, Brentwood’s Ward, A Heart Deceived, Undercurrent andGallimore, but also leaped the historical fence into the realm of contemporary with the zany romantic mystery Out of the Frying Pan. If you’d like to keep up with her escapades, find her at www.michellegriep.com or stalk her on FacebookTwitter, or Pinterest.the next level.

3 Steps Toward Writing Fearlessly

By Michelle Griep, @MichelleGriep

It’s okay to mess up. No, really. Not only am I giving you permission to crash and burn in spectacular glory, but you need to give yourself permission as well. Why? Because studies show that when you feel you are allowed to make mistakes, you are less likely to make any.

Sure, that’s easy to say, but how does it play out in the real world of writing? What exactly does it look like to write in a manner that is free from the fear of failure?

3 Steps Toward Writing Fearlessly

1 – Give yourself some time. 

When you start a new writing project, don’t expect to whiz-bang it out in a manner of weeks, especially if you’re taking some new risks in your writing (and you should always be taking some kind of risk). Don’t constrain yourself by expecting to create within a certain timeframe. This gets a bit more tricky if you’ve got an actual deadline, but even so, build some wiggle time into that looming date. That gives you space to correct mistakes that you will undoubtedly make. 

Example: I need to turn my next manuscript in by Feb. 1st. But I made myself a personal deadline of Nov. 30th. That way I can go back in and fix up the bugaboos without shifting into panic gear.

2 – Ask for help.

Nobody likes to admit they need help. It’s humbling . . . especially if you’ve made a mess of something. But don’t hide your mistakes. Share them with others who can help. Sometimes it really does take a village.

Example: The novel I’m working on is set in Upstate New York during the Colonial period. What the heck do I know about Colonial America? Sure, I’ve researched, but I’ve also got a few historical fiction buddies who are experts in this area. I’m not only asking them for help, I’m batting my eyelashes and adding a “pretty please with sugar on top.”

3 – Quit the comparison game. 

There are always going to be faster writers out there than you. But if you compare yourself to them, you’ll get all snarled up in feeling worthless. If comparison is a horrible habit you just can’t break, then compare yourself to yourself. Look at your performance this year and compare it to where you were at five years ago, or even a year ago. You might still be making mistakes, but are you making less? Are you improving?  

Example: I used to beat myself up for not being able to write more than a page a day. That count is in the rear view mirror. Now I can easily do 1500 in a day. That number still doesn’t compare to some of the rockstar authors I know, but I see growth and that frees me up to quit worrying about it.

Don’t stagnate in playing it safe to avoid making mistakes. Successful people take risks, even if it means they fail.


12 Days at Bleakly Manor

Imprisoned unjustly, BENJAMIN LANE wants nothing more than freedom and a second chance to claim the woman he loves—but how can CLARA CHAPMAN possibly believe in the man who stole her family’s fortune and abandoned her at the altar? Brought together under mysterious circumstances for the Twelve Days of Christmas, Clara and Ben discover that what they’ve been striving for isn’t what ultimately matters . . . and what matters most is love.

Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She is the author of historical romances: The Innkeeper’s Daughter, 12 Days at Bleakly Manor, The Captive Heart, Brentwood’s Ward, A Heart Deceived, Undercurrent andGallimore, but also leaped the historical fence into the realm of contemporary with the zany romantic mystery Out of the Frying Pan. If you’d like to keep up with her escapades, find her at www.michellegriep.com or stalk her on FacebookTwitter, or Pinterest.the next level.