Writing Is Not Formulaic

Striving toward publication is like being in a maze. And, occasionally, somewhere in the void above there is a cackling voice telling you the end is just around THAT corner or just beyond THIS chapter. Then, you turn the corner only to find another dead-end and a chorus of maniacal laughs.

Okay, more seriously, if you have been writing for a while you will know writing, good writing, takes time. There are mountains of work and it takes more than merely plopping down in front of a computer and penning the greatest novel of all time. There is research. There is plotting. There is putting together a list of believable characters and their back story. There are thousands of words that are written that have nothing to do with the work in its finished form but helps the author gather their bearings whether they are composing a novel or a collection of poetry. 

Some writers point to a particular systematic approach of writing short stories and getting them published. Then after the writer has struggled out those smaller pieces a larger work takes form and they write that then pursue an agent. Other writers might tell you to self publish first. Or they might say to do what you are good at, writing a novel for instance, and skip all of that short story business. Even more insist on getting that must have MFA from such and such a school.

Honestly, I don’t think everything works for everyone. I believe the most important thing is to discover what you are good at and saturate yourself with it. If its poetry read about it, write it often, and share what you have written with other poets. The same goes for writing articles or putting together a novel. Writing is not formulaic, but ignoring that maniacal laugh and diving into the world of writing can go a long way to fulfilling your publication dreams.

Write well.



7 thoughts on “Writing Is Not Formulaic

      1. I was lying. No retractions will be needed. But I am reminded of the quote by Maugham, “There are three rules for writing the novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.” But seriously, tomorrow I’ll be talking about writing and the Rule of Three, so it is kind of a formula. Thanks for the great post, Bob!

  1. This post reminds me of Jodi Picoult’s novels, don’t know if you’ve ever read her. She tends to follow the same “formula” — it’s gotten to the point where I read enough of her books that I’m able to “predict” what might happen.

    Of course, I use the term “formula” loosely, but I do think that with a lot of genre fiction (like mysteries and thrillers and romance) there is a formula that authors seem to stick to.

    And you’re absolutely right–not all systems work for all writers. We all have to find our own niche.

    1. People ask me from time to time if I wouldn’t mind making money producing something formulaic like with Picoult. There are a lot of writers who do this. I guess I would be okay considering it was a story I loved. I think I would get bored with it though.

      How do you feel about that? Would you be comforable being designated as a formulaic writer?

  2. Julie Catherine

    Bob, you need a ‘like’ button for your comments! LOL! Formula? I’m supposed to be writing to a formula? Hmmm, I don’t think anyone told my muse that! Hehehe! 😀

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