Repeat after me. THERE IS NO RIGHT WAY TO WRITE A BOOK.

This seems to bear repeating, now and then, so here we go.

There is no right way to write a book.

No right speed, or technique, or form. Now, I’m not referring really to the shape the book takes in the end, since there are arguably some guidelines when it comes to writing a *publishable* book, in terms of structure/readability/writing, etc (all can be broken). I’m referring to the DRAFTING PROCESS. And in regards to that, I cannot stress enough…

THERE IS NO RIGHT WAY.

I’m on my fifth book (THE NEAR WITCH, THE BOOK THAT CAME AFTER AND IS NOT PUBLISHED, THE ARCHIVED, VICIOUS, and now THE ARCHIVED #2).

Every single one has been its own adventure.

Every single one has come with its own flow and its own form and its own pace.

There is no right way to write a book.

Two were written out of order.

Three were written in rigid linear order.

One had a synopsis.

Two had full outlines.

Two I discovered as I went.

One was a previous project taken down to studs.

Three poured out.

Two were/are murder.

One took two months.

One took four months.

One took six months.

One took two years.

One isn’t finished yet.

There is no right way to write a book.

With the one that took two years, I wrote and then rearranged the pieces for SEVEN TIMES. But in revisions, those pieces stayed put.

For the one that took two months, by the time we were done, NOTHING REMAINED from the original draft.

I don’t write SFDs (sh*tty first drafts). I polish as I go. That’s probably the ONLY constant for me, from book to book, but that is MY constant, not A constant. There is no standard when it comes to creative processes.

Just because someone writes quickly, doesn’t mean you need to. And similarly, just because someone takes years, doesn’t mean that’s right for you either. An outline is not a proven way to write a solid book. It’s only a proven way for some people. And freewriting doesn’t lead to madness, or doom, but it can lead to more work later.

Every person is different. And every BOOK is different. But the most important thing to remember isn’t some trick, some key, some proven method. It’s this.

THERE IS NO RIGHT WAY TO WRITE A BOOK.

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16 thoughts on “Repeat after me. THERE IS NO RIGHT WAY TO WRITE A BOOK.

  1. lillian says:

    Amen, amen-thank you!

  2. This is so timely for me! Starting a new book this summer, and realizing I can’t apply everything I learned writing previous novels. But when I realized it? Totally liberated. Thanks.

  3. Heather_Ponzer says:

    Encouraging!
    Writing my first book has turned into what childbirth was like- just when I thought I was almost done, the ‘oh holy hell’ part was just starting. I do hope it gets a little easier… Since every story’s different- I could imagine each one requiring a different process.

  4. Liked your post so much I reblogged it here http://www.paxcorpus.com/2012/07/no-right-way.html

    Good day!

  5. Ali Trotta says:

    I love this. Also, why was I not reading your blog before now? I do not know.

  6. Megan says:

    I’m learning this now. I’ve been working on my book for nearly 2 years and it’s been a process of trial and error about what works for me and what doesn’t.

  7. Leigh Caroline says:

    Bookmarking this one. I’ve been in so many writers groups over the years, and all those “rules” got pounded in my head. Some “rules” make sense, and a few even work for me, sometimes, but it’s hard for me to follow them all at once. And a lot of them, like writing only one book at a time, for me needs thrown out. ❤

  8. Thank you! I am working on my first novel. Everyone has different advice. It all contradicts. I am following my heart and my brain.

  9. This is such a great reminder. Thank you!

  10. Is it silly that I’m tearing reading this? Because as much as I love my story (and I do, because it made me love writing – and want to do it seriously – all over again) finishing it is terrifying. I think that maybe I’m not doing it right, maybe I’ll never get it.

    But I will. Thank you, V.

  11. Kendra says:

    Well-said! In other news, I love the graphics/theme of your blog!!

  12. Thank you! I love hearing this.

  13. love.this. (and needed it today)!!! xo

  14. thedrunch says:

    You know, Victoria… this is exactly why I keep coming back to your blog. So many fledgling writers (like me) think if we could just stumble upon the right FORMULA, it’ll all click. But it’s time and patiences and writing things you hate with occasional bits you love. Then EXPOUNDING on the bits you love…Anyway, thanks for sharing. *hugs*

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