1. Ulramar
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    Ulramar Contributing Member Contributor

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    Do you write in order or by certain events?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Ulramar, Aug 27, 2014.

    So I'm considering a rewrite because I don't feel like I'll be able to truly fix my mistakes and enhance my story without it. There's so many things I want to add. Tiny little things, huge things, everything.

    So originally I wrote everything in order. Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, etc. Voice was kind of a problem given that I have 6 PoV characters, but I think I can fix it. But if I write by character, doing all the Character 1 chapters first, then Character 2 chapters, etc.

    My only problem with that is that I can't let new ideas in. Anything I planned for beforehand is good, but if I want to add something into Chapter 4 I need to make sure it's consistent with what's in Chapter 9.

    So I'm curious. How do you all do it? Sequential, or by a certain system? Maybe you wanted to knock out that one cool scene before doing world building, or you just couldn't write that one crappy scene. I want to hear it!
     
  2. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I started with a serious dilemma about how to integrate the backstory and the current story and where to start. I didn't want to simply refer back to my MC's younger years because those events were actually more story than backstory. But I didn't want to start the story with her at 10, then have the years skip by, one event at a time, until I got to the current story. The story is in the YA genre.

    So I just wrote the chapters not worrying about how I was going to integrate them. I started with the younger age events because they were easier to write. Later I decided on a format, tossed a couple chapters out, wrote a couple new ones, changed many of them when one aspect changing meant another aspect had to change.

    Now I have things organized mostly how they will stay. I'm still moving the backstory chapters around just a bit.

    Can you take sections of the story and work on them separately to get what you want?

    I just completely rewrote my second chapter now that I see it needed a lot more tension and a bit less 'see Jane camping'. :)
     
  3. Ulramar
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    Ulramar Contributing Member Contributor

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    I mean I can write by jumping around but it limits growh. I If I want to add a backstory or subplot, I can't. That's my problem. Things pop up that are fun and I add them in. But it'd be disastrous to have to make sure everything is everywhere. So that's the thing. I've got a good plot now but I like adding new things spontaneously, so that'll make it a pain to me.
     
  4. Sheriff Woody
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    Sheriff Woody Active Member

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    In order, always. No exceptions.

    One of my favorite things to do as a writer is when I randomly discover how to pay something off in a later chapter that had no greater significance when mentioned earlier on - a line of dialogue, a prop, a little tidbit about such-and-such, etc. It gives the story an organic feel.

    This cannot happen if I write the later chapter first, unless I specifically plan the set-ups and pay-offs in advance, but I find it much easier to see them in the moment of writing. If I get stuck somewhere, I go back to what I write before and work from that.
     
  5. ToDandy
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    ToDandy Contributing Member

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    I pretty much always do things in order in my first and second drafts. When I start my heavy editing, then I might do a complete rewrite on chapters out of order.

    But everyone has their own methods for writing. You have to do what feels natural to you.
     
  6. LeighAnn
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    LeighAnn Member

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    I always write beginning to end. And then I edit beginning to end. That way I always know where I am in my story.
     
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  7. ChaosReigns
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    ChaosReigns Be Still and Know Contributor

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    i go in order, because what im doing is having 3 characters who are together following the same timeline, you may not see them all at once, but they appear and disappear. its easier for me to write front to back because that way, if i want to reference something (say a MC's brothers name,) then i can go back and check ok, there are a few continuity errors with the human MC but to be honest, i have 241500 words of an epic fantasy that i have written so far, its hardly surprising, but i can work on it.

    my suggestion here as well, is get something called Aeon timeline (similar products are probably available), i have it and it is good for setting up calendars (whether it be the one we use, which is preset on there) or create your own one that is relevant to your piece. which you can then put in all the key events so that you can keep track of everything
     
  8. Ulramar
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    Ulramar Contributing Member Contributor

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    Okay, so start to end is how everyone does it. So I'm doing that right. And I'll be checking out Aeon timeline. Thanks!
     
  9. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    I write as the scenes come to mind. Totally out of order. I have the main plot points written on a calendar and as I write them, I give them a filename that tells me the month/year they happen in the story. This keeps them in order on my lappy. I usually have the general gist of where the characters are/what they are doing within each scene but when I write something that has bearings on what comes afterwards, I usually skim through the afterwards stuff and make any necessary changes. I don't set out my chapters until I have everything in place, in one huge file. That's when I do my first complete read through, setting my chapters out as I go.

    IMPO, I don't think there has to be a set minimum or maximum length of words per chapter, which is why setting out the chapters is one of the last things I do. I let the story tell me when a chapter change feels right.

    The first part I wrote of my current WIP, was part of the middle. Then I wrote the ending. After then writing 12 other parts from different sections, I went back to the middle and the ending to make necessary changes before going back to the beginning.

    Yeah, I have a strange mind!
     
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  10. Ulramar
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    Ulramar Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm a minimalist in everything I do sadly, schoolwork and in my own creative writing, so I have to set a certain limit for how many words per chapter. That's just something I need sadly, and it's worked. Sometimes characters go on random tangents but I always meet my word count, or I'm at least close.

    So you do everything by date on a timeline to keep it organized while you're all over the place? That could work, though I'm not keen on paying $40.00 for Aeon...
     
  11. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Thanks, I was feeling invisible there for a moment:
    :wtf:
     
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  12. Ulramar
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    Ulramar Contributing Member Contributor

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    Okay not everyone but it seems that most do. For some odd reason I had completely forgot about what you wrote Ginger (I had dinner and some other stuff in between my replying to you and then coming back to all the other replies), sorry about that.

    For those who write it in non sequential order, do you feel like you have more voice in between characters (if that's even a problem)? I'm dealing with six characters so I'd like to add more voice. I don't know if not going in order will help or not, which was the main reason I asked.
     
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  13. Count Otto Black
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    Count Otto Black Member

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    For what it's worth, I think you'll find that many famous novelists didn't do it that way. A famous example would be The Strange Case Of Doctor Jekyll And Mister Hyde. That was literally inspired by a dream which apparently involved various central events in the story in no particular order, some of which weren't featured in the published novel because the author's sister felt that the first draft was too extreme.

    Basically, you can start absolutely anywhere and work forwards, backwards, or in any other direction. Sometimes it's more interesting to do it that way, because you instantly have to ask yourself: "How did my hero/heroine come to be in this horrendous position?" And that in itself is a question which promises to be interesting.
     
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  14. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I don't know what adding more voice means.
     
  15. ChaosReigns
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    ChaosReigns Be Still and Know Contributor

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    i got aeon because it was on offer as i had won Camp NaNoWriMo, so i got a good % off (it cost me about £16 in total, thats ££ not $$ by the way, things tend to be a little cheaper for us because of exchange rates between US and UK)
     
  16. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    Aeon??
     
  17. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    I don't think so. For me, it gives me the chance to write each scene as it appears in my mind, fresh. Obviously I edit and revise over time, sometimes going from the rough draft to another section to edit before coming back to the new section but the main reason I work that way is because that's how my mind throws things at me. When I was halfway through the middle section of my wip, I went to sleep that night thinking about how I was going to make certain words the ending of the book (the title of the book is actually the last words of the story). So the next morning, I am woken by one of my characters screaming five words at me over and over. I didn't know what they meant but I wrote them down. Four days later, I had the ending to my book.
     
  18. ChaosReigns
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    ChaosReigns Be Still and Know Contributor

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    Aeon Timeline is what he means
     
  19. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    For most projects I write beginning to end, but for one novel and one short I write/wrote the scenes as they come out of order. I have a direction in mind so all I need(ed) to do was to assemble the scenes. I found this only works however ( for me ) when I have a small amount of characters, though.

    Nabokov used to write out of sequence - he'd write out scenes on recipe cards and then he'd lay them out to see what order he best liked.
     
  20. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    Ah! I see!

    I just print out a blank calendar and jot everything down in pencil!
     
  21. Ulramar
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    Ulramar Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've got 6 PoV characters and sometimes their narration style blend in together. I want to fix that. Maybe one talks in longer sentences, another talks choppy. One's mind wanders while another's is very technical. That's what I mean by wanting more voice.
     
  22. elynne
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    elynne Active Member

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    I usually go in order, but I sometimes skip around, especially if I have an exciting/good idea for a future scene--then it can be fun building up towards the scene as it's already written.

    but in answer to your actual situation, Ulramar may I suggest using index cards? if you have 6 POV characters, you might be able to find 6 different colors of cards, though that might be excessive. make a card for each scene, then lay them out on the floor--or if you can, on a corkboard or similar--and make sure the connections between scenes line up correctly. I've never tried anything as ambitious as 6 POV characters, but when I've had complicated plots with lots of scenes, the index card trick has helped me quite a bit.
     
  23. Ulramar
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    Ulramar Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've done the index card thing in the past and at least for this I don't need it. This is a rewrite and not a new project. I know (for this draft) what happens, who's there, where and when for every scene. I'm actually going from 7 PoVs to 6 so it'll be even easier. I just want to diversity and I'm curious if writing different parts at different times (write sad chapters when I'm sad, cheerful ones when I'm cheerful, certain styles when I've prepared for that). Everything is lined up as of now. Though I might do the index cards anyway just because.
     
  24. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    Usually, when the scene comes, it just happens but when I go back to edit, I sometimes find that I need to play a specific genre of music to add more feeling and emotion to it. This also sometimes happens if I know what I want to write but the words don't appear. So if I'm doing something sad, I have a list of songs that make me cry, A hot night in Italy, I have tracks of cricket sounds, sex in a storm, I have tracks of thunderstorms ... etc
     
  25. sunsplash
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    sunsplash Bona fide beach bum

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    I always start in order but usually get caught off on a tangent somewhere that I end up saving for later, then I go back where I was and continue forward again. If a particular idea strikes me out of order, I will stop and either make a note of it or steam ahead with it while the spark is alive, but I always back track to where I left off before the new idea popped up.
     

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