First Draft Blues

By David E. Sharp

I have a love/hate relationship with first drafts. Cue the lonely harmonica.

I thrive on the rewrites. Once the structure is in place, I can go nuts with all the tweaks and edit in a constant effort to improve. I can’t even look at one of my existing manuscripts without trying to improve it. During the rewrites, you take a piece of writing from a chaotic conglomeration of intentions into something that resembles a story. It takes shape. 

Get It on Paper . . . Or Whatever.

But first drafts, well . . .

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Compelling, Balanced, and Exciting: Backstory Not Baggage

By Shelley Widhalm
Please welcome Shelley to the NCW Writing Bug Staff.

Shelley Widhalm is a freelance writer and editor and founder of Shell’s Ink Services in Loveland, Colo. She provides copy editing and developmental editing, as well as consultations on writing and editing. She has more than 20 years of experience in communications and holds a Master of Arts degree in English from Colorado State University. She can be reached at or For more writing and editing tips, follow her blog at

When I pick up a book, I usually have to finish what I start, but I recently had to dump a book like a bad relationship. Written in 2005 ( you know, AGES ago) the novel had so much backstory and memories trailing off of memories, I slogged through page eighty and finally couldn’t take any more.

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Ode to The Cat

By Melanie Peffer

Melanie is on faculty at the University of Colorado Boulder. She is the author of the best selling Biology Everywhere: How The Science of Life Matters to Everyday Life. When not writing, Melanie enjoys playing her flute and piccolo and enjoying all that Colorado has to offer in the great outdoors with her husband and son. Visit her on the web at

This is Pixie.

Pixie is almost old enough to drive (if such a thing were possible…) – and over the last 14+ years, she has assisted with every major work I’ve written.

From my dissertation to my book to my TED talk to creating my online courses – she’s supervised every word.

For a domestic shorthair found under a bush by the Beaver County Humane Society, she’s lorded over my writing first in Pennsylvania, then Georgia, and finally in Colorado.

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The End

By Ronda Simmons

On a personal note:

The time has come for me to step down from blogging for the Writing Bug. It’s been an incredible ride, and I am grateful to have had this experience. JC Lynne is a talented, funny, and kind editor. (Don’t tell her I said that.) I have learned volumes from this gig, and my heart is warmed by the folks who have told me they enjoy my posts. But it’s time for fresh voices to be heard and for me to move on to other adventures. If you want to follow along, check out my website:

The time has come, the Walrus said . . .
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You Dislike Me. You Really Dislike Me!

By David E. Sharp

Writing is a long journey, agreed? From the first rubbish drafts of a manuscript to the complete overhauls, the helpful but sometimes painful critiques, the line edits, the additional line edits, the queries, the rejections, the acceptance, all the way to final publication, it’s a lot of work.

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Headshots. Not Only For Zombies.

By Brian Kaufman

In my novel, Dead Beyond the Fence, headshots were a pretty big deal. The ambulatory dead kept coming unless you wallop them above the shoulders. My protagonist used a tool formerly used to open crates or pry apart boards. This prompted one kind reviewer to comment, “Kaufman is the new king of the crowbar.”

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The Words Matter

By Eleanor Shelton

On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Continental Congress announcing the colonies’ separation from Great Britain. The Declaration was actually adopted on July 2, and a clean copy signed by the congress on August 2, 1776, but let’s not quibble about a couple of days when the results were so momentous.

The past few years have caused me to look more closely at our origins, our history, and the words that our government’s founders used.

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