1. JayClassical
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    JayClassical Member

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    How linear are you with your novels?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by JayClassical, Mar 19, 2013.

    How linear are you when you work on your projects. By this I mean, by example; I write chapter by chapter and though I imagine future chapters I never work on another one ahead of what I have. Nor do I work on two at a time.
     
  2. AVCortez
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    AVCortez Active Member

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    The first time I attempted a novel, about six years ago, I chopped and changed. Skipped ahead when an idea presented itself only to find I never went back and it was a massive drag writing the bridge between sections. The second attempt, and first completed novel (albeit a terrible one), I sort of mixed the two. I would skip ahead, or back, but incorporate the change of time frame into the flow of the story. The result was a manuscript that appeared to have been written by the personification of ADHD.

    The latest, and best, I was very linear but extremely rough. I skipped a lot of minor details. When I did my first edit of the rough, the 70k word story expanded to 120k. I achieved this is about five weeks, which to me is quite quick, so I don't really see the point in working on two projects at once... I'm not sure I could actually.
     
  3. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I'm not very linear by that definition. The chapter of my novel I wrote first wound up being chapter four. Then I wrote the first three chapters in order, then six and seven, then went back and wrote five. Then I wrote chapter eight, which is the last chapter (my chapters average nearly 10,000 words each).
     
  4. mg357
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    mg357 Active Member

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    I am very linear when i write but that is how i write and i enjoy writing that way.
     
  5. lettuce head
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    lettuce head Active Member

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    I started out the same way. I found it near impossible to bridge ideas with the same kind of heart that inspired the initial parts. It didn't flow. Now I find out the story as I go. I am on the adventure. I am the characters. I get a front row seat. It has more presence and flow.
     
  6. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I had to work flashbacks in because telling the story chronologically didn't work. Some of the backstory has my protag at a younger age and it mattered to the story.

    But as to how I write, yes and no. I wrote the whole story out, then I've been revising the chapters chronologically, but when I'm finished, I will be reordering the scenes. And I have written some scenes out of order.
     
  7. AVCortez
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    AVCortez Active Member

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    Wow, I am pretty sure we work in exactly the same way. I find myself discovering the story with my protagonist. Do you find this puts you in a precarious position when doing re-writes? Because my characters develop so much, often starting out young and innocent, then hardening as the story evolves. I find it difficult during a re-write, not to write the still young and naive protagonist as the ass kicker he or she will become.
     
  8. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    I write everything in order - have to because I don't know what the story is until I've finished.
     
  9. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    I have to write in linear fashion also. Since I don't outline my novels, I just let them develop on their own, things have to go in that order, or it won't flow.
     
  10. John Eff
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    John Eff Member

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    Very linear, and for the same reason as others who make it up as they go along. The old noggin has constantly got a weather-eye open for the development of ideas as they pop up, and I'll note them down for possible later use.
     
  11. SwampDog
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    SwampDog Contributing Member

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    Our life time is linear, but writing affords us the ability to jump back and forth in our imaginary world, even to write it. Right now, I have an idea about what's going to happen today, because I've made plans, but I certainly don't know. Anything could crop up.

    It does with my characters as well. An idea crops up, I develop a conflict, get at least the bones fleshed out, then fit it in and drop it on the character down the road at the most inopportune moment. So, yes, I have no problem not writing linearly.
     
  12. Em_Anders
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    Em_Anders Member

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    Linear with speed bumps and loopdy-doos.

    I'll start (or continue) a story and if I think of something to add as back story, I'll skip ahead or back and adjust where necessary, then regroup and pick where I'd left off before my stroke of brilliance. Although I have to say if a visual representation were made of my writing and its [lack of] progresses, it would look like something a hiccuping seismograph spit out...
     
  13. Xatron
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    Xatron Contributing Member

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    When i get an idea while i am working on an earlier/later chapter, i use a post-it note to write it down and stick it on my wall. After i am done with my current work work on the other ideas.
     
  14. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    I work to an outline, and linear. But if I get inspired to write snippets for later, I do, and I slot them under a suitable chapter.
     
  15. DeathandGrim
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    DeathandGrim Contributing Member

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    I only work chapter by chapter

    It's easier and fun for me
     
  16. lettuce head
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    lettuce head Active Member

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    Sound like we do. I think it is more fun that way on rewrite.

    But isn't that always the case, even in life, we wish we could go back with what we know now and raise a little hell if we had only known we could? I like to rewrite personality hints in certain characters that suggest they may have the grit for their later struggle. I don't go back in the story and tell the character because if I had to go through life getting pounded from all sides, my characters have to as well. Besides, I see all characters as aspects of self and life is about growing. I grow as a person through my stories. It isn't simply an unrelated character rising to the challenge, it is part of my being.

    End sermon.
     
  17. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i can't even imagine writing a novel by jumping around and writing chapters out of order... seems to me that would result in a hashed-up, picasso-like patchwork quilt, rather than a cohesive, vivid and realistic 'picture'...
     
  18. Youniquee
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    Youniquee (◡‿◡✿) Contributor

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    I mostly work in a linear fashion. I've tried to get out of the habit, since sometimes I get stuck on chapters and it's just best to skip them and come back (especially if you're writing the first draft)
    I actually thought, what the hell one day and just wrote the ending of my novel. But in most cases, I try work linearly.
     
  19. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Sure. But that's what revision is for.
     
  20. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I be-bop around, wouldn't recommend it though it's not the easiest way to write.
    It's not that I don't start at the beginning but if things hit a snag - I don't want to junk the project
    or get too distracted so I write something that I know will go into the story and then head back
    to where I stopped. I read somewhere Nabokov used to write in pieces. He used to put all
    his scenes on recipe cards so he could shuffle them around and then find the order. I was
    amazed to discover this - cause it was something I used to do when I was younger. Didn't
    think any authors ever did anything that weird - lol.
     
  21. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Nabokov wrote that way, and I understand Joseph Heller did, too. I read an interview with Philip Roth (I think it was Roth); he said he started by typing out about 100 pages of whatever he felt like writing, then read through looking for a sentence with "life" in it. He'd type that onto a fresh sheet. He'd look for another sentence with "life," and proceed through, adding them to his sheet. Once the page was full, he'd say "There. That's page one." He'd carry on from there.

    Now that is, to me, a bizarre way of working.
     
  22. NellaFantasia
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    NellaFantasia Member

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    Like most I'm pretty linear. If I think of scenes ahead of time, I'll jot the idea down for later but I won't write it out.

    This is one of my favorite ways to outline IF I outline. My mind jumps around willy-nilly and random images and scenes will play out in my head. I write them down on index cards, then rearrange them until I have a cohesive storyline, filling in the gaps with other scenes if needed. It's fun that way, I think.
     
  23. JayClassical
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    JayClassical Member

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    Stephen King says that he lets the story take him where it wants to go while some authors like to write the last sentence first. His response to that was like eating the icing off the cake before biting in.
     
  24. Kendria Perry
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    Kendria Perry Member

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    I make an outline of the basic scenes in the novel/short story/whatever from beginning to end, and I work my way from there.

    I don't get how some people can write Chapter 12 first and Chapter 3 last, WAY too confusing for me.

    Thanks for the factoid about Nabokov, though! One of my all-time favourite writers. :)
     

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