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?
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.
Yeah, character development was one of my biggest issues with jumping around. It’s hard to write a convincing transition while hopping back and forth between points in their development.
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.
I’ve never thought about the picture book aspect of it, but I imagine that would be difficult to jump around in. The more picture books I read to my daughter, the more respect I have for anyone who writes pictures books. I don’t know that I could manage something like that.
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!
That’s a great idea, to drop in plot ideas while writing straight through. It’s hard to balance the inspiration with the logic sometimes–I’ll have to keep your method in mind as I keep working.
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.
So how deeply do you outline? I’ve been trying to be better about outlining before I jump into the actual story, but I usually only have the patience for a bare-bones outline before I can’t take it anymore and start the writing. But I wonder if taking more time on the outline would be more efficient in the end.
Okay, this is seriously scary. I JUST watched that episode a couple days ago. Get out of my head, lady!!! 🙂
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.
Haha, such a good episode! Did you watch the new one? I’m in love with Peter Capaldi already. He’s a great grumpy old man Doctor.
I think that’s great that you are able to tie all your scenes together in the end. I tried and tried, but I think my brain just doesn’t work that way.
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.
I like skipping around at first and then smoothing it out. I say without ever having completed a decent draft.
Writing process is still there even without a complete draft 🙂 I love hearing how other people work, thanks for sharing!
Holly Lisle called these candy scenes and I often write those first then I do a rewrite from the beginning.
That’s a good idea, to just get them down and then go at the whole thing. Thanks for sharing!
I’ve never outlined. Not even for grad school research papers. My mind just doesn’t work that way. So, I write what I want to write, the holes all eventually zip up, and I never feel as if I’ve got writer’s block.
Wow, I wish my writing went that smoothly!
It had its drawbacks: during public school (and for one undergrad English Comp), it meant that when a teacher wanted an outline first, I had to write my paper first, and then extract an outline from it. But then, I had the rest of the term to just edit and polish up the paper. No teacher ever knew the difference! 😉