Filtering Out Filter Words

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I’m currently trudging through the first draft of my second novel, an experience made horribly stressful by my self-imposed one-month deadline. (Just over two weeks to go! Eek!) I’m already way behind schedule after spending the first four days completely ignoring all the advice I gave myself in my previous post on first drafts, but I’ve just about got the hang of it now.

The trick is to keep writing, to keep pushing forward – by any means necessary.

My first draft is really terrible so far. I’ve avoided all attempts at metaphors, I ‘tell’ rather than ‘show’, and my humorous novel is currently lacking anything close to a joke. But the words are coming – and with a first draft, that’s all you need. The clever stuff comes later.

In terms of helping to get words on the page, one particular cardinal sin of writing has helped me the most: filter words. So as a thank you to this writer’s block-busting technique, I’m going to dedicate a blog post to why you shouldn’t use them.

Yeah. Sorry, filter words. Continue reading

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How to Write a Killer First Draft


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In a month’s time, I’ll have written my second novel. Well, hopefully. For some stupid, ridiculous, reckless reason I’ve ordered myself to write a whole book in four weeks, as a kind of unofficial NaNoWriMo. Now, that’s not like me. I’m a plotter, a planner, a stop-and-smell-the-roses kind of writer. I spend days fretting over chapter titles. I mean, bloody hell, I’ve been working on this entry for a week and a half! But enough is enough: I’ve set myself a deadline and I’m sticking to it.

As I’m on the cusp of a feverish month of typing and chocolate-eating, I thought I’d share with you my guide to writing a killer first draft. I’ll be following this model myself as I bash out a sequel to my mystery novel Beyond the Call of Beauty, and if anyone’s interested they can track my progress – and ever-increasing madness – on Twitter. I hope my advice is helpful to someone out there, and I wish you good luck with your own first drafts!

Now, on with the tips…

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The #1 Rule of Writing: Show, Don’t Tell

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If you’ve read my previous post on 15 Ways to Improve Your Writing, you might remember what came in at number 2 on the list: yep, that infernal phrase of the writing community, ‘show, don’t tell’. If you haven’t heard this phrase before, you’re about to get sick of it – and if you have, if you already know it and hate it, I can only apologise.

So brew some tea, grab the nearest cake, and let’s do this!

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