How do you describe your methodology of writing?

I am submitting the outline of my novella for a competition and this is one of the requirements:

The outline must include a summary of the Novella as well as the methodology and approach.

  • 6
    This requirement reads like it was made up by people who never wrote a book. Or at least never finished something. Best thing to do is to ask them, not us. Jan 15, 2014 at 13:32
  • 2
    It reads to me like it was copy-pasted from a scientific writing competition and only had the word "paper" replaced by the word "novella".
    – user5645
    Jan 15, 2014 at 19:04

4 Answers 4


John's advice is correct: seek their advice.

However, I think it's pretty straightforward.

The word "methodology" simply means the system of methods used for a particular activity, field of study etc.

So what they're asking for is an outline of your writing methods that you used during the process of creating your novella. I imagine it would include, and not be limited to, the following:

  • Subject research (e.g. did you write and skip over the bits you didn't know about, and come back later to fill in the blanks after researching in the library, or did you research the subject matter in depth, did it come from a newspaper, or was it even a personal event that happened to you?)
  • Character construction (how did you identify and construct your protagonist, your villain, your supporting characters; where did you look to for inspiration. What techniques did you use to expand them e.g. interview them, base them on real life individuals you know ...)
  • Scene planning and construction (Is this based on a place you've been, from photographs, etc.)
  • Plot construction (e.g. did you outline your story scene by scene using post-it notes on a board)
  • Your "system" of writing (did you wake up early each day and write fresh without thinking, did you use mind maps for ideas, do you meticulously plan each scene with a summary of what would happen, who was in it, and then sit and just write and so on)
  • How did you edit your novella, converting it from a first draft to a finished product (e.g. did you edit as you go along, did you stick it in a drawer for a couple weeks before going back and editing).

The old saying of "do whatever works for you" means that every writer will have their own methods that they find works for them (sometimes even only for that particular book), and that's probably what they're looking for.


The methods section of a research paper provides the information by which a study’s validity is judged.

An effectively written methodology section should:

  1. Introduce the overall methodological approach for investigating your research problem
  2. Indicate how the approach fits the overall research design.
  3. Describe the specific methods of data collection you are going to use
  4. Explain how you intend to analyze your results.
  5. Provide background and rationale for methodologies that are unfamiliar for your readers.
  6. Provide a rationale for subject selection and sampling procedure.
  7. Address potential limitations.
  • Are you affiliated with this site? If so please disclose that. Also, if you want to link to that site, please link to the specific page where you found these guidelines. I'm going to edit out the promotional link in the meantime as it doesn't help to answer the question. Thank you. Jun 6, 2014 at 14:07
  • I wasn't aware that you can submit novellas as research papers. (Well, of course you can submit it, but I cannot imagine any scientific journal will accept it.)
    – celtschk
    Jun 14, 2014 at 8:15

Six steps to describe a methodology of writing

  1. Research – Research your topic on internet, academic databases and the library. Submerge yourself in the words of enormous thinkers.

  2. Analysis – Starting with Good knowledge stand, visibly define the claims. Do the SWOT analysis which will help you judge better.

  3. Thesis - Pick and choose your best idea, attach it down in a clear contention and summed up in a brief sentence.

  4. Paragraphs - Each individual paragraph should be focused on a single idea that supports your thesis. Begin paragraphs with topic sentences, support assertions with evidence.

  5. Conclusion - Gracefully exit your writing by making end on some memorable thought, perhaps a quotation, or an interesting twist of logic.

  6. Language - Polished your language by correcting the grammar, making sentences flow, incorporating rhythm and other intuitive edits. Proofread until it reads just how you want it to sound.

  • 1
    Are you affiliated with this site? If so, please indicate your affiliation. This is your second answer on Writers, and both had this link. Also, please indicate the exact page on this site where you're getting this text from; otherwise, it's spam and not an attribution. Jan 23, 2014 at 20:11

You may find it useful to borrow from other disciplines, here. In the visual arts, the description of the artist's methodology is called an "artist statement" and there are loads of examples and guides to those on the Internet.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.