Rules of the Writing Habit

There are so many rules in writing. Such as you can’t have a complete sentence without a subject. You must know the difference between whose and who’s, its and it’s. It’s a good idea to know when to use who or whom. Never end a sentence in a precipitation. Of course you have to know what a preposition is so as not to miss use it. And then there are commas.

There must also be rules on how to write, right?


One’s personality determines one’s writing habit.

Toni Morrison writes the last chapter first then writes the rest of the book towards that last chapter. She is a Noble Prize Winner.

Octavia E. Butler used her short story skills to write one chapter at a time, as a short story, within her novel. It took her five years to finish a book. Octavia was the winner of the Hugo and the Nebula Awards.

J. K. Rowling, of Harry Potter, wrote a very detailed outline of the entire series. She, at all times, knew where she was headed and how to get there.

I’ve heard some say, once they start writing, they don’t stop until they’ve finished the book. It takes them three weeks to a month to have a full novel. They discover the story as they write and are as surprised, as the reader, at the outcome.

Some think the book through for weeks, months or years before they are ready to start.

In other words, there is no wrong or right way to write. Depending on your personality, have at it.

I write much the same way I paint.

I start with a simple draft, or a jester drawing. That might be fifty to a hundred pages long. I get the general idea of the plot down, as I have a general idea of what the painting is about.

Then I go back and add detail to characters and plot in the form of scenes. It’s just like adding blocks of color to the painting. I now know where the the dark, lights and colors are. My outline in now close to two hundred pages.

Then I add detail, flesh out characters, add suspense and description. As I add detail to my painting, the blotches of color begin to look like trees, mountains or a face.

And just like a painting, I don’t work on one area at a time. I work the over all painting. I know where the main focus is. But as I work, I see how color pulls the eye and where the darkest and lightest areas should be.

In the final draft of my book, I start at the beginning and work my way through to the end, but my mind jumps about. A scene comes to me in a part of the novel I’m not presently working on. It might be something that happened in the past, or it might be something that will happen in the future. I’m always amazed at how the pieces fall into place.

By the time I’m done, my novel is a trilogy. I then have to rewrite each book individually.

I’m the same with painting, I don’t like 8×10 inch canvases. I prefer 25 foot wall murals.

I’m interested, what is your writing habits are? Leave a comment.