Wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey

I hate writing my stories in chronological order.

For a long, long time, I would have a basic overall plan for my plot, and I would work on writing whichever scenes I felt like working on. I wrote some really good stuff this way, and I was pretty happy working like that.

Until the moment came where I had to string it all together.

All of a sudden, 80% of these brilliant scenes I had written were completely unsalvageable. The story didn’t flow, the pacing was wrong, the character development was all kinds of wonky. Each scene seemed so beautiful standing alone, but none of them played well with the other scenes. It was like trying to put puzzle pieces together when each piece came from a different puzzle.

And so now, I write the drafts out from start to finish. Once I have a reasonably good draft, then I allow myself to jump around and choose what I want to work on. Sometimes it’s painful, and sometimes I would much rather revert to my previous writing process. Today was one of those sometimes, but I have to keep reminding myself that it’s worth the slogging to get a story that works.

How do you get your draft out? Do you write straight from beginning to end, or do you stitch together pieces?

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18 Comments

  1. I always go from beginning to end. I like to have them stay in character. It’s too hard to write a wizened battle ready character, then back up to a scared neophyte and write that. I think my mind develops with the character.

  2. Depending on what I’m writing, I may stay with a steady ‘start to finish’ theme (picture books) or I may go all over the place (novels). I think it depends on how serious I am about something. Novels that I’ve been working on for years kind of have a bunch of scenes written for them, but stringing them together will probably be a challenge. I have one WIP that actually has been more of a writing from the beginning and not trying to jump to the end. I have the idea of various bits for within the story, but I’m just keeping them in a mental file, not trying to work on them until I get to that point.
    Usually all picture books are a start to finish.

  3. Yeah, been here. I’ve worked from start to finish, switched to hopping, then back for another start to finish. I think what I do now is, I hop with the plot ideas, dumping them all over the place in ALLCAPS, but the writing is always done in sequence. That way if I’m midway through writing a difficult scene I’m not tempted to go write something else, but I still get all the random inspired stuff in there on the next pass.
    Anyhoo, good luck!

  4. I generally write beginning to end, though sometimes I’ve written scenes that beg to be put on paper just to get them to stop badgering me. But, even so, I will rewrite them when I get to that point in the story, and try to reuse anything “brilliant” I came up with when I wrote the scene all by itself.

    I’ve discovered that for me outlining helps.

  5. Okay, this is seriously scary. I JUST watched that episode a couple days ago. Get out of my head, lady!!! šŸ™‚
    I try to write chronologically, but mostly I skip around. Tying the scenes together in my first book was challenging, but I enjoyed the challenge. It also helped that I had it pretty much all planned out in my head before I started writing.
    I wish I could write chronologically, but sometimes I’m just inspired for different scenes and that’s what I write. I wish I had more discipline like you.

      • I haven’t seen it yet. I don’t have any channels on my TV, so I’ll have to watch it online if it’s there.

        I’m not saying tying all that together was easy, but it worked for me. It’s interesting. The stand-alones I’m working on are written fairly straight through, but the series books are very sporadic. Very odd.

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