How Writing a Book Is Algebra

Math was my nemesis all throughout school. From Kindergarten through college, I loathed math. I especially hated algebra. I still don’t get it and honestly I fear the day when my son asks me for help with his math homework. *Insert Dad*

Today when I was thinking about my YA book and the various plot points I’m trying to sort out, I realized how writing a book is a lot like algebra .

Breaking the story into the most basic of equations:

A+B=C or Begging, Middle, and End

I know C. The end has always been entirely clear to me, but there are undefined plot variables that are A&B that I have yet to solve.

Because I know C (End), My equation actually looks like this:


And like with most math tests you have to “SHOW YOUR WORK”. Your reasoning is just as important as getting the answer correct.

So far writing my book has been the “SHOW YOUR WORK” portion. How did I get to the end? What makes sense?  This is where the problem solving comes in, gulp!

And now that I have taken my least favorite subject (math) and married it to my favorite (English), I’m going to keep trying to solve my plot equation.

Author: Rachel McKee

I love reading about everything. I'm not a book snob. Lately I have been "reading" a lot of picture books to my toddler and baby. In my past life before motherhood, I was a professional technical editor and writer.

12 thoughts on “How Writing a Book Is Algebra”

  1. *gasp* you’re so right about this! The planning part is always so difficult for me .. I should’ve known maths was behind my struggle.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I can completely relate! I’m writing a novel too and it’s one that involves a lot of characters. Thus far I’ve devoted the first 20 chapters to introductions and now I have to figure out how to connect them all and comlete that dumb bell curve.

    Liked by 1 person


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