The problem here is that you’re thinking that there is a Right Way to write. There isn’t.
I’ve written & sold 8 YA books, 2 adult books, & 3 middle-grade books, 1 picture book, 3 volumes of a manga story, & various short stories. I’m pretty sure that no two projects evolved the exact same way.
With Wicked Lovely (the first book I sold, the 2nd one I wrote), I started on what turned out to be chapter 7 or 8. Ink Exchange & Fragile Eternity were initially one book. My editor had me cut about 20,000 words—all of the chapters in Donia’s voice—that then became the start of Fragile Eternity. I wrote parts of Radiant Shadows and Darkest Mercy at the same time. Desert Tales was written in a mix of script & paragraph, turned into a 3 volume manga, & then a year or so ago, I turned it into a novel.
Carnival was initially going to be one very long book, but my editor suggested that I break it. I had to write a prequel short story to know where to go in the Carnival conclusion.
Graveminder (my first adult book) was written over several years. It has something like 12 points of view. Very not outlined.
The Arrivals (adult book #2) … western meets SF. I knew the middle, beginning, & ending when I started. I didn’t write it all in order, but I wrote key scenes from each place and then wrote around them.
My kids books—Loki’s Wolves, Odin’s Ravens (coming out in May), & Thor’s Serpent (in revisions)—were all co-authored. They had outlines. The FIRST time I’d outlined. In fact the entire series had an overview/plan/synopsis. Two of those books were written entirely when my co-author & I were in the same place. The first we wrote 20k words of, sold the series, & then got together a couple more times to write the rest. The second … I started a few chapters of before we started it. They weren’t my initial chapters though. I don’t generally write linearly.
… except when I do. MADE FOR YOU (my next YA, out in September) was written in order. Chapter 1, then 2, then 3 … I had no outline. I have no sections I deleted & set aside. I wrote it in order page after page. It was the 13th book I’ve written & sold (14 if you count the one I never sold). It was the first time I did it this way.
My writing advice is to write in a way that puts words down. Don’t look for the Right Way. Some people or maybe some books require outlines or writing in order or … something else. I have friends who use a program called Scrivener (where, as I understand it, they write each chapter as a separate file) & ones who use index cards that they tack to walls or spread out like an oversized tarot card reading.
The key is not to do it the way someone else does, but to do it in a way that makes words fall on the page.
The blank page
When I’m fired up…
When I’m not