Do you write Right or Wrong?!

In From First Draft to Finished Novel, Karen S. Wiesner says:

Essentially [the author] creates a blueprint in some form – pre-writing or an outline – and this is the true solid foundation for any story.  Only rarely will a job done right turn out wrong.”

There has been some discussion amongst authors between what works best and what doesn’t while writing.  Is planning or plotting best?  Does there have to ONE certain way to write?  The answer, of course, is no.

Everyone has their own way to write.  Sure, we all need hot tea or coffee (my preference) to get us going, but we’re all different.  That’s why when I read this quote in my book did I begin to wonder what everyone honestly thought about the “right” way to write.

Obviously, Wiesner believes plotting or pre-writing is the correct way.  Which is fine.  Although I’m generally a panster, I do pre-write.  But what I pre-write doesn’t always make it into my works.

So does that mean my “foundation” will lead me astray?  No, I don’t believe so.  But then again, I’m a pantser at heart.  I don’t live by constraints on my writing! 😉

Like I said though, I do some planning now with my writing.  I have to to keep myself from getting distracted.  My mind is going away, I swear!

I do agree with Weisner, though, when she says that you have to have a solid foundation, and whether you write out that solid foundation or not in an outline or what have you, you still need one.  You have to build up from any foundation.  And without a solid one, your work will crumble.

There are many different ways of writing.  But you need a solid plot line to build upon.  Do you agree or disagree with Weisner?  How do you write?  Are you planner, plotter, or someone in between like me?!



9 thoughts on “Do you write Right or Wrong?!

  1. Dear Emerald,

    As always, your articles are so great. I am an in between writer. I find that I can write out stuff on composition paper and then sometimes I will be on the computer and can also create a story! Thanks for this. Therefore I am in between at times I am a plotter and at times a planner and also a panster! However this is so helpful!

    Syl Stein


    1. Thanks, Syl! I think it’s all about finding that middle ground for YOU as an author. I don’t think there is one right or wrong way to write unless of course you don’t have a solid foundation, but that’s not really about the “process” as much as the final product of course. 😉


  2. I disagree, on principle, with all writing instructions that say there’s a “right” way and a “wrong” way (about anything). I read a blog post once about how to write serial fiction, and it said that of course all writers of serial fiction use detailed outlines. (It was written by somebody who had never written serial fiction. 🙂 )

    But the point is not that outlines (or anything else) are right or wrong. Raymond Chandler wrote some great detective novels when he was drunk — and I’m not recommending that as a method, but that’s the point. It wouldn’t work for me; I know that. And Karen Wiesner’s method wouldn’t work for me, either, although I’m sure it works very well for her.


    1. Exactly! That was my point here. There is NO right or wrong way. I write a hundred different ways, and each novel requires more or less from me. It’s about developing your own technique. That’s why I stay away from writing books generally. I just happened to loan this out to a friend and was reading through it before passing it on. 🙂


  3. I’m so wrong, I don’t even need hot tea or coffee! XD
    That said, for anything longer than a short story, I’ve gotta have my brainstorms. Rarely is everything organized into a neat, easy to navigate outline, but writing out what I plan to do helps me figure out where the story’s going and (up to a point) how it gets there, not to mention oodles of details that I’d totally forget to think about otherwise.
    I believe there are plenty of wrong ways to write, but a whole of right ways, too. And X number of people’s right will be Y number of people’s wrong, with plenty of vice versa and overlap and some other Z group adding even more complications to the data. Really, you’ll only know that you got something right when you look back and love what you’ve written. A love of writing makes for a great foundation. (:


    1. LOVE IT!! You are so right, and it’s okay to be “wrong!” Not every writer needs coffee or tea like me!! 😉

      But you’re right. Somethings will work for others while it doesn’t work for some. It’s all about finding your middle ground. 🙂


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