Warning: mysqli_query(): (HY000/1194): Table 'wp_s7n8z0j4_options' is marked as crashed and should be repaired in /home/happywr1/public_html/wp-includes/wp-db.php on line 2030
first draft Archives ~ Happy Writer
  • For Writers

    Lay It Flat, Then Iron It

    You don’t throw a shirt down on the ironing board all wadded up and just press your hot iron overtop it.

    I mean, maybe you do, if your intention is to make some kind of shirt sandwich and pressing the wrinkles deeper into the fabric locks in the flavor or whatever.

    But usually, you lay the shirt flat. You make sure the collar isn’t folded up, and you smooth down the sleeves. Then you get to ironing. Giving yourself that minute to prepare the canvas, so to speak, makes the work easier and promises you a better outcome.

    It’s the same with writing.

    No, really.

  • For Writers

    The Zero Draft: How to Take Your Jumbled Scraps of Bookish Ideas and Make Them Story-Shaped

    Hello, hello, Happy Writers! Today, we’re talking about Zero Drafts. Now, we’ve all heard of First Drafts: the very first incarnations of the stories we tell. They’re messy, they’re earnest, and they very, very often go unfinished, as they’re very often abandoned. Now, why is that? Sometimes, admittedly, stories just don’t work, and the writer loses their motivation to keep clacking away at the keyboard. But, oftentimes, the writer is simply overwhelmed — lost and frustrated and not sure what the story is that they’re telling.

    Often, this is because the writer needed a Zero Draft. A Zero Draft is the percolation stage. It’s the answer to the question: how do I get all of the ideas in my head into something story-shaped? A Zero Draft is and should be the first step to writing a novel. 

    So, this post basically answers two questions: What is a Zero Draft? which, in turn, answers the question:

    I have a story for a novel in my head and I’m not sure how to write it down. What do I do??

  • For Writers

    Are You A Straight Shooter or a Moonwalker? What Order Do You Write In?

    With all this talk about the editing process and organizing a writing binder, it can’t be stated enough that every writer has a different, personal approach to tackling a story. Some like to research extensively before they ever put pen to page; others prefer to shoot through their story, slapping notes like [INSERT FLOWER NAME HERE] for Future!Them to figure out later. (I may or may not be this type of writer, and it may or may not be endlessly frustrating.) Some writers like to have their story meticulously plotted, others like to fly by the seat of their pants. When it comes to writing the actual meat of a story, there seems to be three distinct categories a writer might fall into:

    The Straight Shooter, the Moonwalker, and the Jumping Bean.

    The Straight-Shooter

    These writers are like Jon Lovett: straight shooters widely respected on both sides. They begin at the beginning and end at the end, always writing in sequential or chronological order. Chapter One is completed, then Chapter Two, then Chapter Three, and so on. Whether drafting or editing, they stick to the story exactly as it’s meant to be told.

    Pros of the Straight Shooter: These writers tend to be well organized, and working in strict sequential order keeps them in the headspace of their story. They get a good feel for how the plot naturally unfolds, traveling with it each step of the way.

    Cons of the Straight Shooter: If Chapter Seven is giving the Straight Shooter trouble, it can be very difficult for them to move onto Chapter Eight. (A funny, nagging feeling starts plucking at their brain, oftentimes somewhere behind the right eyeball, and it can be obnoxiously difficult to get rid of–the only known remedy is to cave and go back to Chapter Seven.) They might feel the need to have every chapter in order before they’re “allowed” to move onto the next, and sometimes this can cause major stalls in the writing process.