So as someone who is crashing around, writing her first novel, I have been pondering something quite a bit lately. Is there a right way to write a novel? Or a wrong way? Sure, I get that everyone has to do what works for them, so maybe the better way to phrase the question would be is there a best way to write a novel?
My approach thus far has been kind of willy nilly, cattywampus, to be honest. I have basically been writing the scenes in a jumble…one from the end of the book, another from the beginning and then one from the middle. It’s because I’ve been writing what I know. Yes, I realize that phrase is normally meant to say we should write about things/places/situations/topics that we know, but in my case, the scenes I’ve written were the parts of my book that I knew. It just seemed to make sense to get them down and go from there.
But now as I’m nearing the end of the scenes I know, I worry that I’ve made a big muck of things and if I shouldn’t have approached things differently. So I did the most logical thing when faced with a major life dilemma…I Googled it.
The news wasn’t good at first. According to the posts, I clearly have made a wonky mess. I don’t have a plan, a concept, or an outline. I don’t have character analyses or location descriptions. I didn’t start from the beginning and write through to the end, as advised.
Here is one link (out of a trillion!) that pretty much describes the opposite of what I’m doing:
And here is a link for a novel-writing method that actually has a name, the Snowflake Method. Definitely a method that is a complete stranger to me.
Both of these links are all about the preparation and starting small. They are methodical and naturally progress from ideas to a completed work. And they make perfect sense!
But they are not at all what I’ve done. Other than writing scene cards so I wouldn’t forget my ideas, I did not plan or prep and the more I read online, the more I was really starting to feel insecure.
Then, hallelujah, I found this article. Christina Dodd basically says to just write it. However you need to, whatever works, just write it. There are many different approaches, but do whatever gets your book finished. I can get behind that advice.
And then I found this link, which is an interview of Meredith Sue Willis. I don’t really know her stuff at all, but it doesn’t matter, because apparently there is a name for the way I’ve been writing so far. Here is an excerpt:
“One approach I like, which I think I invented, but you never know, is called the Archipelago Method. You write the high points, not an outline, but actual scenes, and those become the little islands (that are really mountaintops) of the archipelago out there in the ocean of the potential novel. After you’ve written five or six of these scenes, you may well have fifty or sixty pages, and then you can keep writing scenes, or you might start at the beginning to see leads to one, to the next, and so on.”
Okay, aside from her ~ahem ~ ego, I was so excited when I read this, because that’s what I’ve been doing! I feel better. Of course, I won’t really be able to say my method is successful until I have a finished novel, but it does appear that someone else has been successful with this method and that is good enough for me right now. Unless her books suck major booty, but let’s pretend they’re fabulous, huh?
Anyone else have a funky novel, short story or blog-writing method? Or do you do it the traditional way and it really works for you? I’m very curious!