The wide variety of approaches to novel writing presented here by forty successful novelists demonstrates that there is no one way to write a novel. In fact, almost every novelist in this book uses a different technique. Some writers start with a character or setting; others with plot or a theme. Some follow an outline; others have no idea of how the book will end when they start to write; and still others have the end firmly in mind—even written down—before they begin, and practically write the book backward. The important point is that among these different writing techniques, there may be one that will be just right for you. No matter how different the methods of the novelists in this book, the results—their novels—are successful with readers and critics.