There And Draft Again

A Fellowship of Fantasy Writers

Does your fantasy brain need a break? January 23, 2014

Filed under: Inspiration,Writing — thereanddraftagain @ 2:01 am
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You know how sometimes the best way to re-inspire your brain is to take a break? If you’re writing non-stop, you have to stretch, take a walk, go to a movie, listen to music, visit a friend. Experience some life. I hear this all the time, and I know it’s true, but I still sit down with my laptop and spend hours and hours without even glancing up to look at the sunrise. And then I wonder why my brain is clogged.

This past November, I was feeling more burned out than I ever had. I’d been working on the Serengard Series rather constantly for two years. My brain was tired. So I decided to do something that I really shouldn’t do according to my deadlines: I spent NaNoWriMo writing 50k of a historical fiction.

I’ll admit, it was painful trying to get into the historical. The story, the relationships, the romantic focus, the style — it was all very different. I wasn’t really writing comfortably and confidently until week three, and then I was on the clock to get back to release work for my next fantasy release. (Of course, I got sick, too. There was that.) And when I had to stop, I just sat there staring for a day, wondering if I’d really done a good thing or not. Would my fantasy brain be broken?

Then I got back to edits on my fantasy series. And guess what? Everything looked different! It looked fresh. Unique. Real. I’d been living in my fantasy world so long that I forgot what it looked like from the outside. What it would be like to experience it like I was coming home from somewhere far away. Reading something else wasn’t enough. I had to write something else. I had to literally take my creative brain on a real vacation.

I know, I know. I’m a broken record. “Other genres are so cool!” But seriously. Next time you need a break, sretch your writer brain. It feels really good.

–Rachel O’Laughlin


Writing By Numbers November 2, 2013

Filed under: Writing — thereanddraftagain @ 6:18 pm
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In September, I wrote my first short story. Between 1,000 and 4,000 words was the requirement. For October, I wrote a short “scene”. 250 words or less.

My short story, THE DEVIL’S GAME, needed a beginning, middle, and end. It needed sensory description, voice, 3-D characters, tension. Just like a full length novel. My first draft came in at 4,096 words. Not bad for my first run, huh? My final draft ended at 3,263 words.

That’s a difference of 833 words.

Next came my “scene”, UNEARTHED. Unlike a full length novel or short story, this just needed understanding. Someone’s doing something and this happens type of thing. My first draft hit 302 words. Ouch. My final draft ended at 246 words.

A difference of 56 words.

Before I started either of these, I researched the methods used for short-story writing and read other short stories. I tried to discern what made them work, what made them good. Then I started mine. Writing with a word count limit is challenging. Editing and revising to stay below word count AND make the story decent is damn hard. Every. Single. Word. Counts.


I knew this already, but now I have a greater appreciation for it. And while my shorts are far from perfect, I learned a great deal.

Now I’m doing a complete one-eighty. It’s NaNoWriMo, A.K.A. Projectile Word Vomiting Month. To reach the 50,000 word goal, 1,667 words per day are needed. While I’m not “officially” nano-ing, I am going to finish one of my WIPs.

Once I’m done, I’ll put it away for a couple of weeks. Work on something else. When I take it back out to edit and revise, I’ll use the “Writing by Numbers” tools I garnered while writing my shorts. Tools that taught me how to be more meticulous, more creative.

Tools I hope will make my stories more magical.

Until next month, happy writing!



Making the most of NaNoWriMo October 23, 2013

Filed under: Writing — thereanddraftagain @ 7:58 am
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Hi everyone!

The end of October is looming and NaNoWriMo is coming up fast! Are you ready to write a novel in a month in November?

NaNoWriMo Crest

What’s NaNoWriMo?

It’s the National Novel Writing Month. The idea behind such a writing challenge is to write a 50,000-word novel in 30 days. All you have to do is sit down and write 1667 words a day for 30 days and you end up with a complete first draft on the last day of the challenge, which makes you a challenge “winner”.

Is this doable?

Yes, it is. Here are a few tips to make the most of NaNoWriMo:

1) Be prepared.

Before you dive in the writing challenge, know what you are going to write. Have a rough outline for your plot, some ideas for your characters and your themes. This will help you not getting “stuck”.

2) Register on the NaNoWriMo website

Here is the link. Half the fun of this writing challenge is the online writing community you get to interact with while writing your novel. So sign up, meet other writers, support each other.

3) Find inspiration

Writing 1667 words a day means finding enough inspiration to come up with ideas every day. Music can help, or maybe pictures. Create a Pinterest board for your NaNoWriMo novel and come back to it when you get stuck.

4) Take part in writing sprints on Twitter.

NaNoWriMo is about community. As writers, we can feel pretty lonely sometimes. Motivation and perseverance stems from talking to other writers, and “word sprinting” alongside them.

5) Write every day

This may sound basic, but it’s the heart of this writing challenge. To me, the purpose of NaNoWriMo is less writing a novel in a month and more writing every day.

6) Don’t become obsessed with your wordcount.

Remember that whatever your wordcount is in the end, it is a success, because YOU WROTE WORDS.


Are you planning on taking part in NaNoWriMo? Do you have any tips to make it a success for you? Feel free to share your ideas in the comments!

EM Castellan