To add to Faith’s post, which was dead on….
One of the things that came out of all the panels we did — from the serious discussions of the business of writing and various process issues, to the ridiculously silly panel on writing about “Rogues” — is that there is no right way to do any of this. Let me repeat that. There is no right way to do any of this.
Beware of people who tell you that there is only one way to write or one way to get published. And I’m sometimes as guilty of this as anyone. It is impossible to get published from the slush pile. Except that Faith did it. It is impossible to sell a first novel on a few chapters and an outline, as opposed to a completed manuscript. Except that I did it. You have to write to the market and expand upon things that are already selling. Except that Misty came up with this amazingly original idea of a woman pirate who has magic. And she sold it. To Tor. And it’s doing great.
People will tell you that you have to guide your characters; that you can’t let them get away from you and do the unexpected. On the other hand I’ll tell you that if your characters aren’t getting away from you you’re doing something wrong. Thing is, neither statement is true. The only thing that matters is that the writing works for you. That’s the one declaration that I believe is ironclad. It has to work for you. I think writers should be writing on a regular schedule. Put butt in chair. But if you thrive artistically by writing when the spirit moves you, then who am I to argue?
Write the way you are moved to write. Beware of experts telling you what’s right and what’s not. By all means seek out advice. Listen to how others do it. But when you finally decide on a path, make it your own. Do whatever it is that makes your muse sing.
And with that, I’m done. I’d go on, but the beach beckons and I’m on vacation.