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Software Review Writing Life

Why I Love Using The Hemingway Editor App

We all need an editor. Sure, asking friends or family can help, but sometimes you need an impartial set of eyes to look over your work. Having someone else to catch those simple errors or mistakes in flow is necessary for any writer. Many apps have arrived online over the past few years to help. A mainstay has been the Hemingway App, and with good reason.

The homepage of hemingwayapp.com greets you with beautiful simplicity. Everything the app does is explained in neat text on one screen. Read everything there, and you know how to use the app. Proceed, and begin editing.

Hemingway Keeps it Simple

At its core, the Hemingway App is a simple word processor. You can turn off all its editing tools by clicking on “write” in the upper right-hand corner. Once you do, the app gives you a simple distraction-free place to compose. Simple formatting tools line up across the top of the screen, and the composition area is in the center. The simplest options are the only ones available, though. No extensive font choices, no limitless point sizes, no colors. If you want more extensive for your writing process, you are welcome to copy and paste the text from any other file. Once you do, though, your text will revert to Hemingway’s font and size. This may annoy you, but it shouldn’t. The editing process is about the words, not the frills. You can reinsert all the fancy stuff after you pass through this process.

Once you finish writing, no matter where you do it, it is time to click on the “edit” button in the upper right-hand corner of the screen. This will engage the real power of the Hemingway App.

Screen Shot 2017-02-06 at 9.51.47 PM.jpg

The Power of Editing Mode

With editing mode engaged, your text becomes colorful, and a stats bar appears on the right side. This area of the screen displays the value of the app. The first thing you see is the “readability” of your writing, measured in grade level. This is based upon sentence structure and level of vocabulary used. Contrary to what you might think, the lower the grade level, the better. Ernest Hemingway’s own writing and books have been analyzed, and the consensus is that his most popular works are at a 4th to 6th grade reading level.

Why is this important? Why not try to make your writing be at a 12th grade level? The answer lies in your audience. Just because you are writing at a simpler level to read does not mean that your message has to be simplified. For example, why say “I am attracted to you in such a manner that is virtually unidentifiable in description other than to say that I feel this way toward no other human being on this or any other planet in the universe, past or present,” when you can say “I love you”? Keep it simple. If more people can understand your writing, then more people will read your writing. It’s as simple as that. The app only gives you a warning when your writing is at the 12th grade level, which should be reserved for academic papers.

A Plethora of Useful Stats

Below the readability analysis, a drop-down box of basic stats appears. This gives you facts about your writing that you may or may not find useful. If you do not find these stats useful, everything but the word count can be hidden from view.

Below the stats area is the bread and butter of the Hemingway App. A legend of five colors appears, corresponding to the highlighted portions of your writing. These are five important areas to focus on when reviewing and editing. The app can discover adverbs, use of passive voice, phrases or words with simpler alternatives, hard to read sentences, and very hard to read sentences. These areas are highlighted in your text, and the color-coded boxes on the right display statistics with suggestions inside.

For example, the app is not telling you to cut all adverbs, but it will suggest that you bring your count of adverbs down below a certain number relative to the length of your writing. Sometimes, the app misses things. Other times, the app highlights words that end in “ly” that are not adjectives. It’s not quite perfect, but it catches at least 95% of these typical problems in writing.

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You Still Have Control

The app will not correct things for you. You still have to do the work, which is how it should be. It will suggest simpler alternatives for the words and phrases highlighted in purple, but that is the most direct way in which the app will intervene. Whether to take the app’s advice is completely up to the writer. But chances are, you will perform many edits based upon the Hemingway App’s suggestions.

The app can handle a tremendous amount of script, too. I’ve copied and pasted up to 75,000 words of text into the editor and it analyzed it in seconds. Quite impressive.

The online app is free to use, as well. The only drawback is that it will not save your work. To get that feature, you can buy the desktop version of the app, which goes for $19.99 and works for both Mac and PC. The desktop app comes with many benefits, including the ability to import and export to and from the most popular types of text files. Also, the app now has the option to publish your writing directly to your account on either Medium or WordPress.

With its simplicity and power, I find the Hemingway App to be an essential tool in my writing arsenal.

Here are before and after shots of this very article, as I used the Hemingway App to edit it:


Before

 


After

If you’re curious to learn more, here is an incredible video about Hemingway’s style and how it influenced the creation of the Hemingway App:

Related Links:

Hemingway editor App

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Writing Life

Why You Should Not Write a Novel for NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo is Coming!

NaNoWriMo is an event that keeps getting larger and more popular each and every year. And it’s no wonder. There’s something romantic and wonderful about writing a novel. Most of the times I’ve told people that I’ve written novels, the conversation inevitably turns toward how they have an idea for a novel as well, if only they had the time to write it. And it’s true that the writer’s greatest enemy is making the time to write. Writing a novel takes creativity, persistence, timing, and commitment.
Enter NaNoWriMo. Every November, this worldwide event opens its doors to allow a seemingly endless community to gather online and support one another as they trudge their way through an average of 1,667 words per day, hopefully crossing that finish line of 50,000 words. After that, it’s official: you’ve written a novel. What a great feeling. Mission accomplished.
Except, every year, the same problem keeps arising. Only about 10% of those who sign up for NaNoWriMo actually cross that 50,000 word mark and “win.” So what happens? Why are nearly 90% of potential novelists “losing” NaNoWriMo? I’d say it’s because of one great problem: writing a novel is quite difficult.

Why do writers fail NaNoWriMo?

Of the people I’ve spoken to who have tried and failed, the reasons they have failed have been either one of two things: 1) they did not actually have the time, or 2) they got caught up in a snag in their story and quit, because there was no way to finish after running into such a block in progress. Perhaps these are common problems, the excuses of the 90%. If so, then I’d like to do something to correct this, because getting a “win” during NaNoWriMo is a personal accomplishment. There’s no reason why every single person with the urge to write shouldn’t be able to cross that finish line and get the “win.” So, let’s address these two major problems that keep people from winning.
First, if you do not actually make the time to write, then you will not be able to write. That sounds silly to say because it’s obvious. Of course, things happen that we cannot foresee that steal our time. If any of these things happen while you are on your way toward 50,000 words, then forgive yourself. But keep your head up and keep moving. However, if nothing out of the ordinary happens during your month and you simply do not make the time to write, then perhaps your heart wasn’t in your material to begin with. But this also does not mean you should quit.
If your difficulty in finishing falls under the second category, that you reach a snag in your story, then you are hardly alone. Actually, you are in great company, because just about every writer I know hits several points during the process of writing in which the words simply do not come. Carrying a story across a few hundred pages is no easy task, and even without writing, most of us experience plenty of self-doubt within a month’s time. So, what is a writer to do with such great odds against them but a drive to finish something as great as a novel?

Don’t Write a Novel

My solution: don’t worry about the “No” in NaNoWriMo. The novel part is sitting there, just telling you “No” right in the title. If you’re struggling to produce the word count this November, then just forget all about the novel. Make it National Writing Month. Write about anything.
Write down your own stories. Write poetry. Write lyrics. Write down everything you know about any subject you consider yourself an expert in. Write a series of love letters. Write down a list of everything you want to accomplish between now and next November. Write down everything you ever wanted to say to someone but never had the courage to. Write about your favorite day ever from top to bottom, with as much sensory detail as possible. Write a long-winded explanation of why people who eat pickled herring are wrong for doing so. Write down a collection of all of the great recipes in your family. Write about all of the above.
You get the point.

Just write!

Whether a lack of time or a problem in your story is your excuse for not finishing, I believe that the real problem is the novel. It’s difficult to write a novel, to commit that amount of time to creating, developing, and finishing a story that was born of your own imagination. There’s plenty of self-doubt to get over and commitment to make in order to cross that finish line.
I’ve “won” NaNoWriMo for the past few years, and it has yet to produce a grand career as a novelist for me. I write a novel because I love writing stories. I’m driven toward writing stories. When I’m deep into NaNoWriMo, I’m getting up at 5am and writing until everyone else wakes up. And then I’m sneaking off to write little bits here and there until I’m either too tired to write or otherwise committed. It takes a lot of energy. And it also takes a willingness on my part to keep pushing forward, even when I know a story is “bad.”
But if you’re drawn toward NaNoWriMo, then I believe what you have is an urge to write. It doesn’t have to be a novel. Perhaps it shouldn’t be a novel. Perhaps it should be fifty different versions of the prologue to the novel you will eventually write. The point of NaNoWriMo is to accomplish something, to get something down that bears a part of who you are. Isn’t that what we’re all striving for when we want to write a novel? So maybe, if you’re struggling this NaNoWriMo, you should push the novel aside for a while and write something else. Get it down, whatever it is. Just write. Put yourself out there. And win.
Happy writing, my friends.

Relevant/interesting links

NaNoWriMo website: https://nanowrimo.org/
15 Online Tools to Help Get You Through NaNoWriMo: https://www.wisestamp.com/blog/15-online-tools-for-nanowrimo/
5 Types of NaNoWriMo Participants and the Tools You Need: http://thewritepractice.com/nanowrimo-tools/
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Writing Life

6 Techniques for Busting through Writer’s Block

“The subconscious mind is amazingly efficient – it wants to work your story out – and while I’ve never experienced it myself, my guess is that writer’s block is the result of the conscious mind having gotten too involved in the process.” ― Alistair Cross
Don’t loaf and invite inspiration; light out after it with a club, and if you don’t get it you will nonetheless get something that looks remarkably like it. ―Jack London
How time flies; another ten days and I have achieved nothing. It doesn’t come off. A page now and then is successful, but I can’t keep it up, the next day I am powerless. ―Franz Kafka

Ask ten writers how they handle writer’s block, and you might very well receive ten different answers. Some simply wait for inspiration to whisper in their ear again, while others push on through. Many write every day whether they feel like it or not, employing different methods to keep the creative muscles well lubricated. I’ll be honest; I fall somewhere in between. I try to write every day, but often my fiction projects are the ones that are pushed to the back burner when I’m not feeling inspired.

When I find myself stuck in a persistent rut, I’ll challenge myself with monthly or weekly word counts. Usually, like getting in a cold pool on a lukewarm day, the first jump is the hardest. Over time, I’ve found a few methods almost as helpful as someone pushing me in the deep end.

Read First

This may sound simple. But, one of the best things a writer can do before confronting that blinking cursor taunting them from inside a word document, is spend some time reading. It may seem counterproductive – you’re wasting precious time when you could be writing! Hold on; don’t dismiss it just yet!

Starting your writing sessions by taking ten to fifteen minutes to read can help you draw inspiration from other authors and ignite your creativity. You’ll likely find that you are more productive in the minutes and hours that follow.

 

Ready, Set, Writing Sprints

Having trouble focusing? Set a timer for ten to twenty minutes and write as much as you can without looking back. Don’t stop to edit, don’t check social media, don’t get up for a cup of coffee or a snack from the fridge. Just write! Keep writing, and don’t look back until that timer goes off. Take a short break, then repeat until you get through that scene that’s been tripping you up, or you hit your word count for the day.

Listen to a Writing Podcast

There are a lot of writing podcasts out there that are only ten to twenty minutes long, or if they are longer they can be listened to in short bursts. This is just enough time for a commute, or if you write from home, to listen to as you make your coffee, organize your things, and settle in. Often writing podcasts will center around a theme such as character development, perfecting voice, developing your craft, world building, or story arc. They are often conversational. Listening to a few writers chat about techniques they have used in their own stories, will get the cogs turning when it comes to your own. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself jotting down notes as you listen. A few favorites:

  • Writing Excuses – “Writing Excuses is a fast-paced, educational podcast for writers, by writers. It airs weekly, with new episodes appearing each Sunday evening at around 6pm Eastern Time. Episodes vary in length from fifteen to twenty-five minutes, but are usually less than twenty minutes long. The tagline, “Fifteen minutes long, because you’re in a hurry, and we’re not that smart” isn’t super accurate, time-wise, but it’s a haiku so we’re keeping it.”
  • Creative Writing Career Podcast – “Turn writing into more than a hobby, make it your career. Stephan Bugaj (Pixar’s Brave, Wall-E, The Incredibles), Justin Sloan (Telltale’s Game of Thrones, Walking Dead, and Minecraft: Story Mode), and Kevin Tumlinson (Citadel, Lucid, The 30-Day Author) give you their advice on writing for books, movies, video games and more, and occasionally try to sound smarter by having on amazing guests.”
  • I Should be Writing – “Focusing on the emotional road blocks one finds in a writing career, this show speaks to over 8000 listeners every week.”
  • The Creative Penn Podcast – “Podcast episodes are posted every Monday and include interviews, inspiration and information on writing and creativity, publishing options, book marketing and creative entrepreneurship.”
  • The Self-Publishing Podcast – “Full time authors Johnny B. Truant, David Wright, and Sean Platt… explore everything related to getting your writing published… and making money doing it… in today’s new DIY digital publishing frontier. This isn’t artsy talk — it’s “authorpreneurial” business strategy that turns self-publishing from sideline into a rewarding career.”
  • Magic Lessons with Elizabeth Gilbert – “Bestselling author Elizabeth Gilbert returns for the second season of her hit podcast MAGIC LESSONS, ready to help another batch of aspiring artists overcome their fears and create more joyfully.”

 

Break out the Music Playlists

Make various writing playlists. These can be divided according to mood that you are trying to capture with each scene. Writing something dark and sinister? Make a playlist of a few songs that get your skin crawling. Working on a romantic scene and having trouble nailing the emotions? Try a playlist of love songs.

 

Use a Word Generator

Want a fun challenge to mix things up? Try an online word generator like this one. Type in the number of words you would like to have generated (I typically select 5 or 6), then challenge yourself to use them.

Don’t stop writing until you have typed every single word. It might take you one paragraph(unlikely); it might take you five pages. You might skip around and work on various scenes until you have used them all. You might change them later. But hey, it will get you writing.

 

Step Away from the Desk

Sometimes, we all need a change of scenery. Grab a notebook and pencil and go for a long walk, head to the park with a picnic blanket, take a bath, lay in a hammock, hike into the forest. Just go somewhere other than your desk, away from distractions and to-do lists. See what comes up.

Have other techniques that work for you? Share them with us on twitter! @Writing_Bloc

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Writing Life

Five Great Reasons to Outline Before You Write

Avoid “Permanent Writer’s Block”

One of the most difficult tasks concerning writing any piece of considerable length is staying organized. The typical long-form story has multiple characters and story arcs to keep track of at all times. When I ask people why they give up on their story before they finish the first draft, many answer that the story simply “fell out of their hands.”

I have had my own moments while writing a novel in which I felt the story gets out of control, and I’ve written bad books because of this. This is a terrible place to be. After putting in months worth of work, to have come to a point in writing where you feel that all of your efforts have boiled down to a story that is full of plot holes, terrible scenes, and unbelievable characters is a dark place from which to recover. Some people call this place “permanent writer’s block,” because the author has lost so much confidence in their work that the entire story gets abandoned entirely.

How do you avoid this pitfall? The only answer, in reality, is to stay focused and never give up. Of course, this is much easier said than done.

To Outline is Divine

Many authors, myself included, have failed to take the time to prepare their story before actually writing it. And while it is true that many great novels have been and will be written by just getting on with it and not looking back, more often times than not, this strategy will most likely end in disaster for your wonderful tale.

A better strategy is to get organized. More great novels than not start out with expert organization, character mapping, worldbuilding, and outlining. Preparing to write a novel can be far less fun than actual composition (it is, because we are writers, not preparers), but getting into the habit of preparation should make the process of writing much easier and more satisfying.

In the lingo of National Novel Writing Month, there are “pantsers” and “planners” (and now they’ve designated a hybrid “plantser,” which is self explanatory). Pantsers are quite brave. They sit in front of a blank page, considering it to be the first page of their first draft, and get moving. Their imagination will take the story wherever it may go. I have composed a novel this way, and it is admittedly quite fun. You get to watch your characters, scenes, and story emerge as you type along. It is a thrilling way to write, as long as you are willing to press on no matter what happens in your story.

The drawback to this approach is that it can backfire. The vast majority of people I know of who quit on their story started out as pantsers. Even if their story idea was great, the loss of confidence that came with running their story into a dead end shook their confidence in even starting the story over again. This is a terrible place to be.

Be a planner

I want to make the case for being a planner, as I myself have converted to this method (with a little bit of “plantsing” in the mix).

There is no steadfast rule for how to plan a book. Notebooks, dry erase boards, post-it notes, bar napkins, index cards…these are all viable options for book planning, as long as you can keep track of everything as you go. Fantastic apps such as Storyist and Scrivener are available for download (look for my reviews of both applications in the near future), and online tools such as NovlrLitLift, and Hiveword are also great options to explore.

open book with illustrations floating above the pages
An outline is still creating a beautiful story.

I have had great success in converting from a pantser to a planner, and I have said as much to people struggling to get their ideas into words. No matter which method you use to outline your masterpiece, here are five great reasons for becoming a planner:

1) It is easier to make adjustments and large changes to your story.

Just about every novel idea starts out with a “eureka moment,” and it seems that the entire story will be amazing the moment after it is conceptualized. After diving into actual composition, the reality of composing your concept starts kicking in, and you can realize that there are elements that don’t work. If you’re already halfway through writing the novel, this can seem like a good time to scrap the entire project in a fit of frustration. A better option is to map the story out in the form of chapter summaries first. This way, if a large problem with the plot arises, making an adjustment to the story is far less work, and your story lives on.

2) It is easier to experiment with your story.

With an outline, you can take your story in different directions without having to scrap anything at all. You can create a virtual roadmap of different routes you could take to get to the finish without the risk of having to abandon thousands of words in the process. The ability to experiment can greatly improve your novel.

3) It is easier to accept constructive criticism.

If all you have done is create an outline of your story (not to say that it is easy to outline, but it is far easier than writing an entire novel), then you can present your idea to other people, and if they see problems with your story, accepting the input is less of a blow if you haven’t even started the first draft.

4) You can divide and conquer.

If you make a detailed outline with all of the scenes separated, then when it comes time to compose, you can approach the task scene by scene, creating confidence in your progress. This method even makes it a little easier to schedule writing sessions. You can decide which specific parts of your novel you will draft during various days of the week. Also, if the entire novel is mapped out ahead of time, there is no rule against writing out of order. If writing a particular scene doesn’t match your mood, then you can choose any other scene in the book to write instead. Outlining ahead of time even makes it possible to write a novel backward.

5) You can defeat writer’s block.

If you start each writing session with a clear piece of story to compose, then creating a draft is far easier. Plus, if and when any interruptions to the writing process arise, your creative energy is not severed at the source. You have the whole thing planned! Now all you have to do is see the entire book through to the finish!

In the spirit of NaNoWriMo, and to help motivate you, here is a video on how to plan your novel:

Related Links:

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Writing Life

Four Pieces of Advice from an Editor

Editors Are Your Friends

Finding people locally who are immersed in the writing community on both a local and national level fills me with joy. In my local networking efforts, I had the pleasure to meet with a professional editor who was willing to let me pick her brain for an hour. I left our conversation feeling happy and better equipped to finish the first draft of my novel with confidence. Naturally, it seemed only right and proper to spread the wealth and share some of the advice I received with all of you. The following are four good take-away points, and certainly not a complete list:

Editing in column image.jpg

Learn to love the dreaded red pen…

1) Your story is not perfect. It needs an outside editor.

This is good news, actually. It means that even the best, most popular writers out there submit drafts to their editors with continuity errors, grammatical errors, and even spelling errors. It is quite daunting to put together hundreds of pages of story and make every single detail match, sound perfect, and basically look like what will ultimately end up on a bookshelf for people to buy. This is why there are editors, after all…they exist to help shape your work into a wonderful final product. Editors are to writers as George Martin was to The Beatles, if you need an analogy. If you don’t know who George Martin is, that’s okay. You probably don’t know the editors of your favorite books, either. But you should get to know both, and now.

2) Although it won’t be perfect, you still need to submit your best work.

Yes, editors expect that there will be errors involved in your draft, but your story does need to be written well enough to be worth editing. Don’t fill your draft with low-hanging fruit that will distract your editor. You must continually improve upon your grammar and language mechanics, as these are part of your craft. And when you submit your draft to an editor, make it the best it can be. The less work you give your editor to do, the easier it is for them to help make your story the best it can be.

3) Be flexible and easy to work with.

Once again, your story isn’t perfect. You might have, in the hours, days, and weeks that you spent alone staring at a computer screen writing your story, neglected to realize that you aren’t very good at writing dialogue in a Creole accent. Perhaps this needs to be changed in order for your story to work, and your editor is the one who cares enough to point this out. Editors are on the front lines, defending your book from being torn apart after it’s published.

You will get feedback that hurts and might make you feel angry, but it’s best if you move forward as quickly as possible and take their advice. Your editor has seen a ton of books, and they know what makes books successful. If they send you back a copy with a lot of red ink and remarks on how certain items need to change and/or be rewritten, then bask in the joy that you get to keep writing your beloved book! Make it the best it can be!

4) Keep a calendar while you’re writing. Plan. Keep track of your characters.

Create a separate calendar for your story. You can avoid common mistakes and continuity errors by simply keeping track of your story as though it has its own life and schedule…because it does. If you write a story that has a scene taking place on Thanksgiving, write that on your calendar. This will help you avoid making the scene happening “the next day” occur on a Saturday. If you describe your main characters in how they look, keep track of that somewhere so you don’t describe them with completely different hair color seventy pages later. Continuity is important. Your story is already fiction, but losing track of your own characters gives the reader a poor impression.

The moral of the story: Work hard, write well, but don’t think you’re finished until your editor is finished with you. Editors are your friends. If you get the opportunity to work with one, appreciate the fact that someone is helping your story become the best it can be.

Dive in deeper with these links:

The four levels of editing explainedhttp://www.thebookdesigner.com/2014/04/4-levels-of-editing-explained-which-service-does-your-book-need/

First Drafts: what they should and shouldn’t behttp://www.nownovel.com/blog/first-drafts-shouldnt/

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Writing Life

Five Failures to Embrace When Writing Your First Draft

Stop worrying and finish your first draft

This article is for all of you who are worried you might quit on your first draft. This is your pep talk. I want to relate some of the hard lessons I’ve learned about novel writing in my limited experience. If my simple advice helps even one other person cross the finish line and feel the satisfaction of completing a first draft, then I can feel as though I’ve positively contributed to the world.

Your first draft of your novel is important. It’s enormous. Once that is complete, you can say factually that you have written a novel. But the pressure of writing a novel during the first draft is what ultimately puts people off of the task entirely. Writing is awfully introspective, no matter what is being written. Being alone with your own thoughts and words can quite easily create doubt. It is this doubt that causes far too many people to critique and edit their first draft into submission before they finish it. It’s easy to fall into the trap of reading what you’ve already written, reread it, edit it, polish it, make it sound as pretty as possible, and then have no energy left over to write new material.

If you are doubting your first draft, especially if you’ve been kicking it around for years, please allow me to take some pressure off so you can go forth and complete your draft with your head held high.

This is a fact: if your first draft isn’t a terrible version of your book, then you are doing it wrong.

crushed paper flooding office

Embrace these five failures when writing your first draft:

1) There will be plot holes.

Even if you’ve outlined, planned, and scratched down as many preliminary details as possible, you will make mistakes in your plot. It is bound to happen. Accept this and move on, because if you scurry back and forth while writing your first draft trying to cover every hole in your story, you will only become frustrated and never finish. Plot holes are best found by other readers. So instead of wasting valuable writing time looking for problems with your plot, spend your off time finding people to commit to reading your first draft specifically to hunt down the holes in your story so you can correct them later on.

2) You will have grammatical errors.

I don’t care if your grammar is pristine on a daily basis. It takes concentration to never make a grammatical mistake while creating people, conflict, and dialogue from your own imagination. If you are spending too much time worrying about your mixed modifiers or where your prepositions lie in your sentences, then you are losing track of what you are actually saying. Writing a first draft should be with the intention of editing later, so don’t edit now.

3) Your characters will not be entirely believable.

You might mix up character tones, or fail to even give a character or two their own distinct voice. Your characters might be bland, or even impossible to relate to. But as long as you’re writing your first draft, then your characters are at least doing something and advancing your plot, and that’s not quitting. The first draft is the time to pencil in your characters. Save coloring them for the second and third passes of your story.

4) Your dialogue will be choppy.

I haven’t met an author who doesn’t want their characters to all sound a certain way with particular thoughts and feelings being conveyed both concisely and precisely. Dialogue is an art on its own, and you will not be flawless with it upon the completion of your first draft. Once the draft is finished, then you can go back and spend time with your dialogue, speaking it aloud, polishing, and making it all sound as profound and wonderful as possible. During your first draft, just make sure your characters are speaking to each other and getting the general points across. Move on, and complete.

5) Your first draft will be the worst your novel will ever be.

You’ll do yourself a great favor if you embrace this. There are endless little ways you can nitpick your work as you go up until you hit the point of giving up. Do not give up. You have a great idea for a book, and the only thing stopping you from releasing it upon the world is yourself. Embrace the fact that you are writing a bad book on your first pass. Your first draft will not and should not be publishable. A novel is truly written during the process of rewriting and editing.

Your first draft is a detailed blueprint, the demo tapes for your multi-platinum album, if you will. But the greatness of your book will not be achieved until it’s thoroughly edited, so dedicate yourself to finishing your first draft, embrace its awfulness, and then turn around and edit it until it finally becomes the wonderful creation you originally had in mind.

This wonderful video adds some much-needed perspective on what a first draft should be:

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