I don't write in order!

United States
June 4, 2012 4:09pm CST
I've been working on my Camp NaNoWriMo (a write a novel in a month race for writers) and I've been doing pretty well so far. I'm right on target with my word count. But here's the thing, I have written the opening chapters and the very last chapter of my novel! And this is just something I DO, all the time! My last two NaNoWriMo's and pretty much everything I've ever written, I never write in linear order. I skip around to the parts I know what I was to write for, all the scenes I have planned in my head, and I fill in the blanks later. I know a number of professional authors that do this as well, so I was wondering if anyone else out there skipped around as they wrote? Does anyone write in linear order? What's your thought on the order of scenes that you write?
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7 responses
@carmelanirel (20979)
• United States
4 Jun 12
Wow, that's great that you can write that way, I can only write in order. Of course during revision I will come up with a scene to add or subtract, but in the original writing, I wrote the first chapter to the last..Maybe that is why I struggle with writing, I don't know..:(
• United States
5 Jun 12
Maybe! I just find it so much easier to write scenes as they occur to me rather than drudging on in one line. If I have an ending in mind, then I don't want to wait and let the idea simmer in my head while I reach the ending. Same for anywhere in the middle. I think 2010's NaNoWriMo I wrote mostly in order, though I can't exactly recall why. I think it was just a phenomenon that the story was unfolding in my mind in the same order I was writing it. Which is actually kind of weird to me. lol Stories tend to unfold in my mind in a series of scattered scenes.
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• United States
5 Jun 12
Well if I don't put some serious time on my revision, I am going to be sorry..But my main problem now isn't the order, but the mood. It seems that every day, something happens, a party, or one of my neighbor's needs my help, etc...Today I have to prepare to go to a different county for help with my FAFSA paperwork, so I can't concentrate when I have to lease in a few hours...Have you ever had that problem? Needing time to get into the story in order to write?
1 person likes this
• United States
5 Jun 12
I would have that problem a lot outside of NaNoWriMo races, but when I'm in one of the races it really doesn't bother me. I'm not entirely sure why. I'm guessing I just write better when I can throw myself headfirst into the story and committing to writing a certain number of words per day. When I wrote outside of NaNo, that would happen to me. There was always one thing or another that needed my attention and even when I had time to write, I just didn't have the energy or the mindset. And I always have problems with revising, it's the hardest part of the process for me. First drafts are no big deal, but you tell me to look the whole manuscript over more than once and I start getting twitchy.
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• United States
5 Jun 12
allyoftherain As I think about what I am needing to write, I DO think in terms of chapters or sections as opposed to directly related outline delineated points and order. I do find a bit more creativity in this form. I have written from the back to the front before. This is something that can really drain you, yet, you gotta do things to stretch with.
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• United States
5 Jun 12
I've never written from back to front. I have written in linear order, front to back, but I've found it highly tiresome and I would tend to get stuck on parts that I didn't know what to do for even though I had a clear idea of what I wanted to happen afterward. I've up and quit on some of those.
• United States
5 Jun 12
I think we are talking about the same thing. I would write entire passages that take place in the end, then in the middle, then at the beginning... I find I have the most control of the entire project this way because I have already outlined it. I am able to devote a lot of attention to the end and what the conclusion is so that the things that are written in the beginning and middle has all of the turns and sub plots that are necessary. Of course, this also helps when I am writing something that is non fiction as well. In that particular case, the conclusion has probably already been established and I just have to build it backwards.
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• United States
5 Jun 12
I typically write the beginning and the ending first, and then jump around in the middle. I kind of just write where my ideas for the scenes are, and I typically have ideas for scenes in the beginning, the ending, and finally at parts in the middle. Though it has happened differently. Your method does sound interesting, and I never thought about writing from back to front as having a conclusion and outline already in mind. I've used the same "just around" method for college papers, and in those cases I usually do write the beginning last because it's the hardest part for me to come up with something for.
@PageTurner (2827)
• United States
4 Jun 12
Hello allyoftherain I tend to write the ending first, then the middle, and finally, the beginning. Like you, I will write what I know first, then fill in the rest. Every once in awhile, I will begin at the last thirds of the beginning, and then write straight through, then come back and put the finishing touches on the beginning.
1 person likes this
• United States
5 Jun 12
Sounds pretty interesting! I tend to write the beginning first, and then what I have in mind for the ending during my next writing session. I do frequent touch-ups on the parts I've written while I'm still writing. I write what I have in mind at the moment rather than let it wait and simmer in my head while I get to that part.
• United States
5 Jun 12
I also do a lot of editing. I enjoy it.
1 person likes this
• United States
5 Jun 12
lol, that's the part I don't enjoy.
• Philippines
9 Jun 12
Same here. I don't write in chronological order. It sounds boring... It's like writing a thesis or a class paper. :P I tend to begin around the middle of the story, work my way through character development and then switch back and forth at the true beginnings of the story and the ending. It's easier for me and it keeps readers from asking questions... hahahaha....
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• United States
11 Jun 12
It does keep it interesting! lol You kind of figure out what blanks you want to fill in later.
• United States
5 Jun 12
I write all over the place... I start from the beginning then think of a cool ending then change the beginning again then write the middle and so on... I think my mind goes a million miles a minute and I can't keep up but if I don't write it down right away I forget where my thoughts are going
1 person likes this
• United States
5 Jun 12
That's kind of how it is for me too, I want to write down my thoughts before I forget where they're going. I haven't really re-written a beginning in awhile, perhaps a few times while I was editing but not while I was writing my first draft. Usually cause I want something with a much better hook, and not cause it's in conflict with any other part of the story.
@sirnose (2440)
• United States
4 Jun 12
For some reason I have to write a story that way too. When ideas come to me is the only time I can write a story. I skip all around I'll start with the title then the plot and characters. After that I just write any thing that comes to mind about what shape the story should take. I was thinking about enetering NaNoWriMo but I for got that it was to start in June. Hopefully, I'll be ready for next year's NaNoWriMo.
1 person likes this
• United States
5 Jun 12
NaNoWriMo typically takes place in November actually and Camp NaNoWriMo has two sessions, one in June and one in August, so it's certainly not too late for this year! If you're really ambitious then you could still enter for the June session and do four days worth of catch-up writing along the way!
@ElicBxn (60884)
• United States
4 Jun 12
I tend to write in order, because I've discovered if I don't I won't go back and finish the darn thing. I do like to have a "goal" to write to, sometimes its so small or petty that I will write quite a story around it to "hide" the goal. I do find that if I don't have at least an end in mind, I will stall, that happened with one story. Finally I came up with the end and finished it in less than a week!
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• United States
5 Jun 12
It certainly does help to have an end in mind, I can attest to that. I sort of live by the rule of "write what's in your head" so if I have an end in mind, I wind up writing it because that's how I operate when I write. I just gotta get out all the scenes I've got planned and then look to see what I'm missing. lol
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