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Tip Tuesday #89

Tip Tuesday is a recurring feature where blog readers send in tips for fellow writers. If you'd like to send in a tip, please e-mail me at agentspotlight(at)gmail(dot)com.

Today's nifty tips were sent in by Nazarea Andrews. You can find Nazarea at her website and blog. Please consider visiting after you read her tips below!

These are two tricks I use when fast drafting, to keep the flow going.

When I fast draft, I often use Write Or Die--which doesn't allow for special formatting (such as italics) so I use a symbol, such as * or ^ to denote when I want to place emphasis on a word or phrase. When I edit, it's easy to translate that into the proper formatting.

When I'm using MS Word, and come to something I want to go back to, or know I will need for reference later (character description, what they drive, important dates) I add a # and insert a note. Later, when I'm editing, it's easier to go through the document by symbol and notes to make sure I've kept details straight, or to fix a passage that I didn't like on first pass. It doesn't replace editing--not by a long shot--but it does help in keeping the little things straight, or referring back to things I know need more work without slowing down the first draft.

Hope that's helpful :)

Nazarea Andrews~


  1. Love the # idea - I'll be using that from now on. Thanks!
    Wagging Tales - Blog for Writers

  2. I really like the # idea too. I'll try it on my next first draft. Thanks.

  3. I too love the # idea. And then I might just tweet my notes as hashtags. LOL

  4. Good tips! As recently as last Saturday, I started leaving myself little notes in my MS - things I knew it needed but didn't want to spend time on right at the moment.

  5. Awesome tips! I've tried Write or Die and it freaks me out. But I do like the idea of making notes in my MS. I usually just do the square bracket [] and highlight in yellow. :)

  6. This kind of notation would have helped me a lot in my first draft. I frustrated myself by constantly editing as I wrote. It is definitely a skill to get the story down in first draft without continually stopping to edit. I applaud you!

  7. Excellent idea. Then you can just use find to get to all those # symbols. I still love color highlighting questionable passages, but this is definitely worth a try.

  8. Good idea! I haven't tried Write or Die yet, but I've thought about it. I don't know if I could stop myself from going back and fixing things like spelling errors. That might drive me nuts.

  9. I like the idea of adding a # in Word to make it stand out.. I always use Word for writing.

  10. You should try Scrivener. I have a question.. Do agents accept manuscripts even if the author is not an American?

  11. Thank you for commenting, everyone!

    Anon, most agents accept manuscripts from non-American authors, yes. Just make sure their guidelines don't specify "no international submissions" or similar. Many agents have clients outside the U.S. Good luck!