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Write Way: Breaking the Mold

Updated: Aug 18, 2018

Hey guys! Jesse Haynes here. Which is good, since this is, in fact, my website and blog. Some of you probably are familiar with my blogging content on the old website, and since Jesse Haynes Author recently went through a renovation, along with it has come a new series of blog posts.

I'm excited to introduce Write Way, a series of posts about fiction writing how-to's, how-not-to's, lessons I've learned, and everything in between. If these get enough web traffic I might even start making them into vlogs. We'll see.

I'd love to promise a weekly post, but let's be real: school is starting hear and my classes will take precident over writing posts, but I think every other week shouldn't be too much to ask. Especially since I'm on a podcast-creating hiatus.

All of this said, I promise to deliver quick, digestible nuggets of writing thoughts with the Write Way blog. You're reading the same lighthearted, often sarcastic writer who's not afraid to speak his mind, just on a slightly fancier website with more pictures of myself.

Not every post will be Write Way and about writing, as I will occasionally post inspirational thoughts, updates, and other various content, but the writing posts will all be labeled as such. Without further ado, here's the first Write Way.


Jesse’s Nuggets (3 Points to Treasure):

  • Don't try to fit in a stylistic mold.

  • Remember that there are limitless ways to write.

  • If it works for you, then it's the right way.

"An outline? Like... you outline what you write before you write it?" These dumbfounded words came from an anonymous creative writing teacher.

I nodded. "Yeah. I don't want to get halfway into the book and then hit a wall and not know where I'm going from there, y'know?"

The instructor gave me a strange look, as if I was an alien that had dropped down from the heavens and instead of trying to phone home, I elected to come to class. The instructor, along with the other students in the class, seemed floored that I didn't start at the beginning of the story and just go with the flow.

According to most the people sitting in that room with me, there was one way to write a book: sit down with a vague idea of what kind of story you want to write, then just let loose. Write what comes to mind and "let your characters write the story for you." I've actually heard that line in class.

I'm going to argue against that.

However, I'm not going to argue that is the wrong way to write a story, instead propose that is not the only way to write a story. There are some people that are filled with so much creativity that I swear it drips out of them and makes them leave squidgy footprints on the floor. They can sit down with a mere sliver of a story idea and from that sliver the next great novel rises.

I'm not one of those people.

I, as my teacher struggled to understand, approach writing a lot more methodically: I outline my books before I write them with a numbered list. Each two or three sentece bullet point turns into a chapter of the book when I expand it. It's more mathematical, and I'm laying a blueprint for a novel of which I can give the chapter count before penning (or typing, in my case) the first word. (It is worth noting that this outlining strategy, to me, pertains to a 100K word novel much more than a 2K word short story.)

When you're solving an algebra problem there is always one correct answer and usually only one or two ways to find it. In fiction writing, this is not the case. You see, there is no right way to write fiction.

I'm not posting this in an attempt to convince you to write with my outline method. I'm not trying to convince you to write like my creative writing teacher. Instead, I want you to know this: No matter what other people tell you, always remember that if you're writing in a way that works for you, then it's the right way.

Don't let your writing get crowded into the "mold" of what somebody says is the correct way to tell a story. Sure, it never hurts to dabble with other methods, but the biggest victory comes when you find the best way for you to write, and as long as you're having fun and telling great stories, then you're writing the right way.

Good luck and happy writing!

- JH

Challenge: Next time you write, try to use a different approach than you're comfortable with. Reach out of your comfort zone, and you could find something that works surprisingly well for you!


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