On writing out of order.

Police at Protest 3 (c) Nick Winchester

You’re going to find a lot of people on both sides of the argument about writing order. Should you progress chronologically with the characters or jump around to the scenes that are interesting and fill in the rest later?

Normally, I fall mostly on the side of chronological progression with small exceptions for scenes that barge into my head. I write those down so I don’t forget them. Sometimes they stay the same, sometimes they need to be tweaked based on something that comes before them, and sometimes they get scrapped entirely. But I write them just in case.

The project I’m working on now–well, ONE of the projects–isn’t coming to me chronologically. It just isn’t. So I’m writing some of the key scenes and hoping for the best. At least this way I’m not staring at a blank page waiting for words that aren’t going to come. I’m making progress. THAT’S the important part. Progress. Words are being added and the first draft is getting closer to done.

For me, editing is easier than drafting. I can tweak something forever, but getting it finished in the first place is a challenge. That’s why I’m suggesting you go with whatever works for a particular project. If you jump around do you run a higher risk of having to change or scrap a scene? Yes, but at least you’re writing. At least you’re that much closer to THE END.

2 thoughts on “On writing out of order.

  1. Erica Cameron

    I almost always know how the story is going to end, but the middle is usually where I slog. Slowly. Like through molasses. What happens a lot, actually, is I'll write the beginning and then the end and go back to fill in the middle when I figure out what goes there. Not exactly efficient but whatevs. 😉


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