gokartrush Go-Kart Rush (ghostwritten by Anastasia Suen)

Q. Should I write my book from beginning to end?
A. Yes and no. Writing a story with a beginning, middle, and end is your goal, but most books don’t reveal themselves in order page by page.

If your book comes to mind from beginning to end, by all means, write it down in that order. And if it doesn’t come to you that way, join the crowd!

“No, I don’t use an outline. Of course, I also don’t write in a straight line; I write in lots of little pieces and then glue them together like a jigsaw puzzle.” ~ The Outlandish Companion by Diana Gabaldon

Yes, some of us write in circles. I write my ideas down and then I circle back and add more. I move up and down, up and down the page adding a tidbit here, a snippet there.

I capture my ideas on paper before I use the computer. The computer is linear and paper is not. So I write on scraps of paper first–notes here, notes there, all over the house. (This is my “plotter” side.)

I also use a notebook to write the first draft of a chapter in longhand as the words come. I write down whatever comes to mind, even the words that don’t make sense yet. (This is my “panster” side.)

These plotter and panster actions are the prewriting step that you see on those Five Stages of Writing charts at schools.

The Five Stages of Writing
  1. Prewriting
  2. Drafting
  3. Revising
  4. Editing
  5. Publishing

The first four stages of writing are thinking and changing stages.

You don’t have to move from beginning to end through the five stages of writing either. For example, revising a chapter of your novel may lead to drafting a completely new scene and to do that, you may need to prewrite with little scraps of paper (plotter) or a blank page that you just fill with words as they come to mind (pantser).

Don’t be afraid of the thinking and changing stages of writing. Let your imagination run wild and have fun–playing with words!

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