by Amy S Cutler


Nicholas Sparks once said, “Writing the last page of the first draft is the most enjoyable moment in writing. It’s one of the most enjoyable moments in life, period.” This is so, so true. There is no feeling like getting to the end. Even knowing the hours of revising and editing that is lurking around the corner, finishing the first draft is liberating.

There are SO many ways to tackle a first draft. There are pantsers and plotters and everyone in between. Some people outline and plot out every and turn, organizing either in a document, through a software program just for this purpose, on sticky notes, whatever works for them to get the key points of the story worked out before writing. Other people, the pantsers, just letting the words flow with no formal outline or solid idea of where the story is going.

I fall in between these categories. Usually when I get a story idea, I just sit down and write the first few chapters. After that, I sit back and think about where the story is going, how long it is going to be (many times, I find that I write the idea as a short story and am happy with that), and what I can do to make it better. If I outline too much, I get stuck trying to fit the story into the outline, rather than let it lead me. So often, I have no idea what is going to happen until it happens. I love when a story takes me by surprise, sometimes I cry right along with the characters as the story progresses. Other times, I will write a short story in a few hours, and someone will say to me, “where did that come from?” Truly, I have no idea.

There is software out there that is so helpful in planning a story. I am currently using one for a novel idea, and just the character sheets alone are priceless. The scene and details are much improved because of the software, but I do find that the actual story isn’t getting done, I’ve spent so much time playing with the details and no real time on the actual writing. This is kind of an experiment for me, so I can’t say if I love this way of creating a story or not.

Usually, I like my chapters to be at least a little polished before I move on. I know plenty of writers who say just sit down, write the story, and worry about fixing and editing and polishing for when the story is done. Personally, I find that the longer I work on a chapter, the more ideas I get moving forward, but I really think that a first draft is so personal and unpredictable, that writers should just do what feels good for them in the moment, and go with it. In this case, I believe that any first draft is successful as long as there are words getting down on paper.

As long as my fingers are going clickity clack on the keyboard and words are growing on the page (and not straying to social media or, I am happy.


About the Book

When Annabelle flees her abusive husband and moves into an 1860’s farmhouse, she soon learns that she is not alone; she shares her home with Christian, the ghost of a poet who killed himself in 1917. Christian, wanting nothing but solitude, tries to scare Annabelle away, but once they come together while she is dreaming, they fall in love. The clock is ticking for Christian, for moments after his hanging his fiance magically cursed his spirit to be stuck on earth for one hundred years, and his time is almost up.

With Annabelle’s ex threatening her and the spirit she has fallen in love with on the verge of disappearing, Annabelle becomes obsessed with staying with Christian, and will do anything to be with him.

Being in love with a ghost is bad enough, but for Annabelle, discovering that her true love will be crossing over at any moment pushes her over the edge of reckless behavior.

Publisher: Black Rose Writing

ISBN-10: 1684339402

ISBN-13: 978-1684339402


Print length: 163 pages

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