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Tip Tuesday #73

It's Tuesday and I have another great tip! This one was sent in by Christine Tyler, a.k.a. Martinelli Gold. Please visit Christine at her blog, The Writer-Coaster.

While writing rough drafts, I often get bogged down with my "literary voice." I'll want to say something, but I don't have the research done yet, or I am out of synch with the flow of my story. Instead of getting up and researching right then, or getting up and pretending I'm "thinking about it" while I have a bowl of cereal, I just write it the exact way I'm thinking about it. So instead of:

Lance ran toward the...*distraction*
Lance looked at the sky and said...*distraction*

It looks more like this:

Lance ran toward the big huge thing that kind of looks like a tank but isn't but I think they had them in WWI.
Lance looked at the sky and said, "dude, that's totally awesome."

I call these "place savers." The whole point is that instead of hitting a road block and allowing it to stop traffic for four hours (or days), you just drive around it. I underline my place savers so while I'm typing up my draft, or doing my research, I can easily change my notes into what I meant, and spend more time thinking of the perfect words, without slowing down my entire manuscript.

Hope this is useful!
Christine Tyler

Love this tip, Christine! Anyone who doesn't do this should definitely try it. Place savers are great for keeping momentum. Another idea is to put an asterisk next to them so you can ctrl+f and find them quickly when you need to.


  1. I love these types of ideas! I'm gonna go over to check her out! Thanks.

  2. I do a version of this myself, and it's a tremendous help when trying to write on a time budget.

    Thanks for sharing!


  3. Very good. I am the queen of distractions.

  4. That is a good one, and I've successfully done it a few times, but usually I obsessively work out whatever before moving on.

  5. I do the same thing... it's a great tip!

    BTW Casey, I like you new pic...


  6. My own place-saving technique would like this this:

    Lance ran toward the FIXTHISDUDE


    Lance looked at the sky and said FIXTHISDUDE

    That way, when I'm ready to tackle the things that had me stuck a bit, I can just Ctrl+F and search my document for FIXTHISDUDE and it takes me to the spot.

  7. Wow! I really needed that tip today! I'm never short on distractions (ADD) so this is a great trick. Thanks!

  8. Both of your tips are helpful. I hadn't thought to do this.

  9. This is a really good tip. I do it, too, but I highlight it so I can scan through quickly.

  10. When I do things like that or write insert battle scene, I always type it in bold. Makes it so much easier to scroll through and see where I need to fix things.

  11. I slam into those road blocks at daredevil speeds. I can't for the life of me move forward until I've figured out the (word - distraction).

    Even then I still get the obvious "Redo" in bright red pen from my Beta on some points. It has to make sense or I'm stuck like glue.

    I might try this and see what happens...(Hugs)Indigo

  12. This is a great tip. I should start doing this. I always get stuck and have trouble moving foward.

    p.s. I LOVE you new hair! Purple is my fave color and it looks great on you. :)

  13. C.N. Nevets (comment above), is a genius!
    I'm usually writing in a notebook during my rough drafts, so underlining, or drawing a square around a word, is how I mark it.

    I am probably too lazy to find a highlighter, but that would be superior.

    But if I'm on a computer, plugging in a keyword like Nevets suggested is something I've never thought of. (and admittedly did not know how to do...) Now there's a whole new tip of the day! Thanks!

  14. Before I read this post: Dude! I love your new photo Casey! I mean I have always thought your glasses were very cool, but the new expression on your face is great. And is that a hint of purple in your hair?

    Okay. I'll read now and try to same something relevant.

  15. Wow! What a great idea. I don't run into this often because I'm such a long winded gas bag I usually know what I want to say all the time. But it does happen occasionally, even to me, so this is a wonderful idea that I bet allows you to get a lot more work done in a lot less time in the long run.

    Thanks Casey, and thanks Christine! Off to follow your blog now ...

  16. Great idea! I'm too easily distracted.

  17. I do the same thing, but instead of underlining I highlight it. I see what needs fixing easily that way. Also, when I'm revising/editing I highlight the last line that I've worked on, so I know exactly where I left off. :)

    Thanks for the post!

  18. Yes, this works! I do the same by highlighting and it really helps to keep you focused.

  19. This is a great tip. It will help me tremendously in my battle against my bossy inner editor! I've been stuck for days on one sentence. It's silly to stop writing at all just because I can't get one sentence right at the time. I'm definitely using this approach.

  20. I've always added a symbol usually the { and do a find serach like u said. It saves my butt every time! Great post:)

  21. Ha! That's awesome. Super tip. I use place savers as well, but none quite so hilarious. Would make for a killer copy to sign and give away to someone special after your book's a mega best seller ;)

  22. I do this! Except I put it in parentheses and italics and underline it. Overkill, maybe?

    And it's a GREAT technique. I started doing it during NaNo, and it helps me keep the flow going.

  23. Great tip. I read it in a Stephen King interview once - he said don't reach for the encyclopedia or thesaurus, just keep on writing.

    And yeah, I go for double-asterisks myself, but I like the idea of bold above, too, and especially to jot down the feeling or general idea of whatever that doohickey thingamajobbie really is.

  24. Totally hot tip for when I'm stuck. Love it. Thanks for your post.

  25. Ok, this is so me. What a great tip!

    By the way, I just noticed I'm a "top commenter!" Awesome!

  26. I do that quite often. It's a wonderful trick.

  27. Oooo, your way is definitely better than putting a bunch of question marks or asterisks. Thanks for the tip!

  28. This is officially now my absolute favorite and most useful writing tip .... ever! It sure would've saved me a couple of hours yesterday.

  29. Great suggestion. I am completely guilty of getting distracted and having to immediately research what "the big thing that kind of looks like a tank" is. Thanks for the advice!

  30. Great tip. Those examples totally cracked me up.