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Can You Write a Book in Google Docs?

Updated: Jun 15

A whimsical graphic depicting hands with flowers blooming and a castle in the foreground.

When I was writing Ahead of Her Time, I used all the things. I Googled which platform was best, spent a bunch of money on Scrivener, never fully figured out how to use it, etc.

Now, I’m a firm believer in doing what works best for you, so this is just my experience. But in writing book two (which I’m still fondly referring to as “Untitled Spy Book”), I’m making things wayyyyy simpler…Like, so simple, I’m writing it in Google Docs. And I must say, it’s made the process simpler, too.

Here’s the exact process I’ve gone through in writing book 2, which I’ll be submitting for edits soon:

  1. Outline in Save the Cat! software. Not sponsored. I just loved the book (this is an affiliate link to Amazon), so I decided to use their software to help organize my own. I also did a very detailed outline.

  2. Translate outline “beats” into individual scenes, which I wrote on notecards to see the visual progression

  3. Put each scene into Google Docs as a Header, so they’re easy to flip between in the sidebar.

A screen shot of the draft of Erica Abbett's "Siena Saint James Is Not a Spy"

This seems super obvious, but part of the reason I wanted specialized software for book 1 was that I worried about the length of a traditional document. How could I find what I wanted without endless scrolling?

Duh! That’s what headers are for. I don’t know why I didn’t think of that sooner. It’s made things super easy to navigate, and as a bonus, really breaks down each scene into manageable sections.

Furthermore, unlike Scrivener, I can rest easy knowing that Google Docs are externally saved and available anywhere. In the past, I dragged my Scrivener files to Dropbox, which led to duplicates and an inability to open the files on computers that didn’t have the software. Google Docs wins here.

What comes next?

Unlike Ahead of Her Time, I’ve decided to query this book. Depending on whether any agents bite, the final version will go to the higher-ups or, if I self-publish, I’ll transfer everything to Vellum to make it pretty and properly formatted before publication. Again, not sponsored, just trying to be helpful!

And there you have it. Yes, it’s 100% possible to write a book in Google Docs, though you may want some software at the beginning and end (Save the Cat/Vellum).

Good luck, and happy writing!


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