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Novel Writing Methods #4: The Koontz Method

Updated on November 21, 2012

What is the Koontz Method?

This is the last novel writing method I plan on talking about, and is often combined with the light outline method.

It is called the 'Koontz' method because of its first and greatest proponent, writer Dean Koontz.

When writing by the Koontz method, there is only one draft. Each sentence and then each chapter is edited and perfected as it is written. By the time the words 'The End' are reached, the novel should be complete and of submittable quality. It is a method relatively few writers use, but often with good results.

Advantages of the Koontz Method

1. When it is done it is done. If you hate going back over your work several times, then you might consider trying this method. The book will be finished and, in theory, done. However, in practice, an editor will likely ask you to make changes.

2. It avoids the need to let a novel 'sit' on the shelf between edits. This can result in the book being produced more quickly with no loss of quality.

3. If you hate editing, then doing it all at the same time can make the editing part feel like less of a chore and reduce procrastination.


Disadvantages of the Koontz Method

1. The progress through the first draft is very slow. Most writers do need an outline to make sure they stay on track. It can seem as if the book is going to take forever.

2. Some writers get bogged down if they edit. The 'I just wrote my 15th Chapter One' phenomenon is made much more likely by this method. Writers who have that problem are better off writing a crappy first draft as quickly as possible and then finishing it later.

3. Some writers simply cannot produce quality work without that 'breathing time' between drafts, and will find the quality of a novel written using this method distinctly inferior to others. Also, the idea of 'finished when finished' makes it harder to get the advantages that can be provided by good beta readers or professional editors.


A good method for people who hate going back through drafts. A very bad one for people who have difficulty getting past chapter three. Not that many people know about this method, and for those for whom it does work it can produce some very high quality work. Dean Koontz's fame and success with this method speaks for itself.

That concludes this four part series. Keep the comments and discussion up. Perhaps there's a method I've missed, or ideas I haven't thought of. Thank you for reading.

Other hubs in this series:

The Seat of Your Pants

The Light Outline

The Heavy Outline


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    • profile image

      newday98033 6 years ago

      Okay. The wrong path is subjective, of course. But how it gets away, at least for me, is having another person start in. The viewpoint of the teller changes. If you're not Faulkner that is a tough gig.

    • jenniferrpovey profile image

      jenniferrpovey 6 years ago

      Maybe. I have definitely started a story 'wrong' and had to start over before, and it's not always voice. Sometimes, it just gets away from you.

    • profile image

      newday98033 6 years ago

      Yep. Twain meant something by "wrong" (his word) and I expect it was voice. There is no morality to art, but there is choice and relative value. Or so it seems.

    • jenniferrpovey profile image

      jenniferrpovey 6 years ago

      Either way. There really isn't a right or a wrong way to make art.

    • profile image

      newday98033 6 years ago

      Twain said he could start things "wrong" and end up having to start again. So thinking about what one is doing can be useful. The question is, can brilliance come from conscoius thought, or is it more likely to come from simply diving in and seeing what comes out. (as in Hemingway).. I always had better luck just diving in, but of course everyone has their own way.