Over time, I’ve often been asked, “How do you write a book?” – “What’s the right way to write a book?” – “What’s the correct method?” – “What’s the step-by-step process?”
I’m privileged to have a number of other writers as friends and, out of curiosity, I’ve asked them the same questions and received a variety of different answers. For example:
One writer tends to work out the complete story, mapping it out on paper before starting on the actual book. This includes the plot from start to finish, character development, scenes and settings, the whole works.
- Another builds independent scenes in his head and writes them out when they are complete. Though he has an overall idea of his story from the start, these various scenes are created in random order and then assembled in the sequence required to make to make it all work.
- A third friend writes one chapter at a time by hand and edits it, also by hand, before typing it into her computer. She then repeats the process with the next chapter and so on until the book is done.
- Some do all required research beforehand while others research as they go. Some listen to music while they write, others always write at the same time of day or set a number of words per day, etc, etc.
- As for me, I get a general idea in my head and let my fingers go nuts on the keyboard. I often don’t know exactly where I’m going and I rarely have a clue where it comes from. I may jot down a note here or there or quickly list the scenes about to take place but mostly, I’m working in void that simply must be filled. This has been my method from the start and each time I’ve put it into play, the story unfolded and ended up being a full novel.
That’s all fine and nice but, which way is the right way to write? As far as I’m concerned, all of them are as long as they work for you. Writing is an art form and as long as the correct elements are present; a good storyline, proper spelling, grammar and punctuation, the method the artist uses to paint his or her story doesn’t matter. What does matter is the finished product.