What this writing coach said

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This topic contains 2 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Rob Vargas 2 weeks, 2 days ago.

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  • #656269


    This is what Nancy Erickson said. If you see any factual errors then please let me know. The analogy with a house is spot on IMHO.

    And this seems totally congruent with the approach that WD makes their profits teaching. Is WD mistaken with pushing their approach to planning ?

    Make a plan, write your book
    Some people just sit down and start writing. But they soon discover that all the ideas that have been rattling around in their head have no form, no shape.

    What comes out is a spaghetti mess — a bunch of unconnected threads. They have a message, but they don’t know how to get it down on paper. The problem with the “write-first” approach is that it’s like trying to build a house without any plans. You have no blueprint to follow, no foundation poured; and you don’t know what the house will look like when it’s finished.

    I don’t know a lot about building, but I do know that you don’t put up the walls first. The walls have to be attached to something solid. Before you build anything, you pour the foundation. But even before that, you need a comprehensive plan — a blueprint that shows where each room will be and what features it will have. Before you pull out your hammer, you have to have a plan.

    The same is true for your book. If you want to save time, energy, money, and frustration, you begin with the end in mind. You take the concept for your book and turn it into a concrete plan. To do that, we start with the foundation. You may know the topic of your book, but do you know what you want your book to accomplish? If the book doesn’t have a purpose, why write it?

    If you don’t know how to write a book, that doesn’t mean you can’t do it. After making a decision — a commitment to share your story — you just need a plan and a process.

  • #656294


    Again – and not wanting to get back into the tiresome planning versus organic argument – but building a house is not like writing at all. Writing allows editing, at any time and to any extent. It also allows much more creativity, building worlds and people who could never exist on the plane of reality.

    Planning a story will work well for some writers – for others it is the kiss of death. Let’s just leave it at that – people can always look up the old arguments if they want further junk on it.

  • #656295

    Rob Vargas


    The either/or argument. It works. Or it doesn’t work. My way. Or the highway.

    The truth here is that WD is neither right NOR wrong. WD teaches something that works for a lot of people. Some people will never get it. Others feel it drain all the art out of writing. Or all the creativity out of themselves.

    Each of those attitudes is right. And each of those attitudes is wrong.

    Maybe outlining helps more writers than any other writing methodology. Maybe not.

    I don’t care.

    I DO care that some people seem so invested in “their” way that they denigrate, diminish, sometimes outright attack any other way.

    Writing is a deeply personal, intense process of creativity (notice how I don’t say other arts aren’t?).

    Try it. Outline. Try it. “Organic” or “seat of the pants” writing.

    What I think most people are going to find is that some combination of the two is the right formula for them. SOME planning, and SOME pantsing.

    Can we PLEASE stop worrying about who is right or wrong, and just do what’s right for each of us as individuals?

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