Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The ONLY right way to write

Betcha thought I was going to give you a super secret way to write, huh? 

Sorry, the only right way (for you) to write is your way. I’ve harped on this before, but recently I saw someone on a writing group page upset because someone had told them they were writing incorrectly.

To which I said, “Say what?” (In my head only, enough folks had already jumped in on the issue ;)). There is no wrong way to write.

Now, before some folks jump all over me, yes, there are ways that will make your writing more palatable for a gentle reader. Things like proper grammar, commonly accepted punctuation, spelling that doesn’t hurt the head, and so forth.  Obviously, you as the writer can do whatever you want-you just may not be able to share it with anyone outside of your pets and people who really love you...a lot.

But there is a more insidious way of “failing to write correctly”- not outlining your book (to be fair, the opposite is true as well- I have seen people poo-poo the plotters for being uninspired and lacking originality which is hogwash) BUT the situation I saw was that the author had told the person “helping” them, that they didn’t use an outline.

And they were told that only hacks don’t use outlines, and therefore they were not a real writer. And this was said to what sounded like to me a new writer. All dewy eyed and wet behind the ears.

I wanted to find the unnamed source of pain for the new little writer and bash them in the head.

There are as many ways to write as there are books. I am a serious pantser. But even for me, each book is a little different. I just finished the draft of book three, The Emerald Dragon, and I felt like I was balancing on an over inflated beach ball, dancing a jig, while juggling fifteen water balloons. It was a messy write.

To some degree that’s how I write everything. Parts of it may look deceptively put together even in their first draft…but the entire piece is sort of like a Jackson Pollack painting from a distance.

It’s how I write. And for this book, it was REALLY how I write.

Because my brain can only hold so much information, I am actually going to do a slight outline for the remaining three books in my series. But I’m still a pantser. I know how it ends but the path getting there is messy and there is a chance of falling water balloons.

You may write like I do, or have an insane 100-page outline. IT DOESN’T MATTER! There is no "correct" way to write- and if someone tells you there is, and even worse, then tries to make you feel bad about YOUR path, smack them around for me (okay, use a pillow or something, I'm not supporting violence here ;)).

And you older, more established writers out there, encourage the new folks, but don't try to brain wash them to do things your way, or make them feel bad about their way. I've got a pillow with your name on it ;).


  1. Well said, Marie, defender of newbies everywhere.

    In the past I would have said it is right that every story have an end. But there's this guy who wrote a series of books which sold millions with nary an ending in sight. So, even the one rule I thought was hard and fast just ain't necessarily so.
    Write what makes you happy. Write it the way you want to. Don't set yourself up for disappointment by expecting everyone to love your child because you do. Remember that everyone has different tastes, but you'll be surprised by how many people have tastes similar to yours.

  2. LOL! Thanks :). Nothing gets me pissed off faster than people who deliberately destroy dreams.

    And you summed up the topic perfectly!

  3. I really like this. I really hate seeing people talk about writing as if there was some form of Formula that Real Writers know to use. Writing's very much an independent activity; you can't expect any two people to use- or even be able to use- the same method to create a book.

    And this seems especially true for newbies, who need the freedom to be able to find their writing style.