1. James

    The points made here will cause people with different writing styles and backgrounds to relate. As mentioned, just try to be consistent. If the thoughts are there, you will put them on paper. Don’t allow the ‘myths’ to stop you. Nice job.

  2. Kathleen

    I particularly shudder at the advice to always create an outline before writing. For me, the flow is simply in my head, and once I write it into outline form the will is gone to create anything more.

  3. Cecilia Domeyko

    I´m writing my first novel and if I had paid attention to the myths you talk about, I could never have begun to write. I began writing one night based on a dream I had had the night before. The writing flowed and soon I was writing every night. Since then the writing has taken on the form of a book. With regard to outlining, I didn´t outline at first and now when the plot gets complicated I do outline to know where I´m headed but just enough so I have the plot in the back of my mind while I write. For me the fun of writing this novel has been how the most amazing things in my subconscious come up through my characters and plot. They are carrying the action forward, not me. I agree every one of us, as do the characters in a book, think differently, are inspired by a multitude of sources, and carry out their actions in ways that are unique. It´s great for a writer to get advice that frees you up rather than sets down rules… thanks for your article!

  4. Cecilia, how wonderful you found that wisdom early on. I did an outline for my first book (40 pages!) because I was told I absolutely had to do it. Then by the 2nd scene I was at least smart enough to follow the story as it went off course. I ended up with a 40 page outline of some other story! 🙂

  5. Agreed on all of these. I tend to interpret “write what you know” as “write what you enjoy or care about” — for example, if you love reading epic fantasy but are trying to write literary fiction because you think it’s more important, you’re probably not going to be as successful (or as happy) as you’d be if you were writing what you actually like.

    I particularly chafe at writers who insist you HAVE to write x number of words per day, every day, or you’re just a wannabe. Yes, you have to write at some point, but every aspect of process is individual. If you’re satisfied–at least most of the time!–with how the writing is going, then never mind how many words Ms. or Mr. Big-Name Writer can crank out every day. 🙂

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