Sunday, 19 January 2014

No Right Way to Write by Cindy Dees

Some inspiring words from author Cindy Dees who has given me permission to share her post.

You can find her work on Facebook: 
Twitter: @CindyDees and on her website:


I was chatting with a friend who's ADD (for real, not a bad diagnosis to keep little boys sitting still in school…but that's a rant for another day). This friend is highly articulate and creative and is thinking about trying some writing.

And, like many authors who were too well trained by their high school English teachers, he had the notion that there's a "right" way to write a book. Furthermore, trying to do it right was destroying his writing mojo.

This is, of course, crap.

You can write from the last page forward to the first page. You can write individual scenes in random order and cobble them together later. You can write the odd numbered pages, then go back and write the even ones. You can write standing on your head in a trash can for all I care!

What I'm trying to say here is that there is NO right or wrong way to write. At the end of the day, if a book emerges from your process, no matter how strange or chaotic that process might be, then YOUR PROCESS WORKS.

Yes, it can be helpful to outline your plot. Some people choose to do that before they write a book, others wait until they've written in the storm and produced a draft. Then, they tear apart their plot as it stands to find the holes.

Yes, some people plan carefully and are most comfortable writing page one, then page two, then page three, and so on. That's fine.

Some people prefer to write the scene they're most excited about that day when they sit down to write. They drop the scenes into the overall draft manuscript later. That's awesome. (This is a particular fave of mine, because my writing is always at it's best when I'm excited by a scene. I try to capture that thrill when it's fresh and rich in my mind.)

If you can work on four books at the same time and write each of them out of order, and in a year emerge with four terrific stories, then go for it.

Just remember, this is not high school English, where you're stating a thesis, making three supporting arguments, citing sources and criticisms, then summarizing the whole mess. You're telling stories. Your only mission is to capture your own creative process. I hereby give you permission to do whatever works for you.

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