Okay, so I went to Saturday’s meeting of Dallas Area Romance Authors, a chapter of Romance Writers of America (and if you write anything that might be considered “romance”, you need to join!). I caught up with two great people Aelle Ables and Pat Van Wie, and picked up some great pointers not just from the meeting, but specifically from them!

One of these was a series of online writing classes by Candace Havens, a Dallas-area author and nationally syndicated entertainment columnist. One of her online writing classes is called “Fast Draft”. Basically, you commit to writing a certain number of pages or words every day for 14 days. Now think about this. If you commit to writing 20 pages a day for 14 days, you’ve got 280 pages – you’re almost done!

It’s almost like one of my perpetual diets (I swear, I’m always dieting, but that’s another post altogether). I have a goal number of pounds and a target date to lose them. Except I’m trying to add pages (not lose pounds). And I’m a heck of a lot more likely to reach my goal!!!!!

When I heard this, I almost freaked out. My current project, Odin’s End, contains several secondary story lines, a lot of historical research, and Old Norse vocabulary, and I figured there was no way that I could participate in this. But never fear – the goal is to create nothing more than a first draft. That’s it. And you can even have a crappy first draft at that.

Now there’s no way for me to do justice to this concept. I’m at the end of day 2, and I’ve done 38 pages out of 40. And for someone like me who’s an endless “tinkerer” with a chapter or scene, this works. Because I’m going to tinker with them anyway. Might was well give myself permission after having at least gotten through my first draft! WHOO HOO!

And yes, looking at the scenes I’ve scripted, they are crappy. But they’re there. And they’ve really helped me link together my sequence of events in my book, as well as identify areas of research before I actually get to them. For veteran folks – you’re probably saying “So what?” and I’ve gotta luv ya for that! But, newbie that I am, this is really working!

In case you’re wondering, Candace’s online classes require membership in the Write_Workshop: The Writing Workshop group on Yahoo!

Check it out – if nothing else, join for free and see which of Candace’s classes might be for you. I’m definitely looking into others (only after Fast Draft, of course)

I’ll let you know how it goes!

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