1. Scarecrow28
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    Scarecrow28 Contributing Member

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    Is it okay to skip around the story?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Scarecrow28, Aug 30, 2008.

    If you have a pre-established plotline and are having trouble writing a specific scene or chapter, is it alright to skip to another part of the story and work on it? Will this negatively impact the story in anyway?

    I'm writing an adventure thriller piece and when I'm doing the action sequences, I tend to question the story. So I'm figuring if I write an "action" scene followed by a calmer one, I can negate this feeling. But these are spread all over the place. Thanks!
     
  2. Ore-Sama
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    Ore-Sama Senior Member

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    If you're talking in terms of, say, working on chapter 8 when you're stuck on chapter 1, it'll work fine as long as you don't end up creating any plot holes inbetween. If you're spekaing from a narrative perspective, it might be a little jarring to readers unless pulled off smoothly.
     
  3. Ungood
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    Ungood Contributing Member

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    Not only will this NOT hurt your story, it might very well help you complete it.

    You do not have write a story in the same manner it is supposed to be read in. Feel fee to write what ever parts you want to write when you want to write them.

    You can always change things later if you need or want to.
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Whatevcer works for you is fine. If you sjip aroundm you may make the revision process harder. Bit if you can't finish the story in a linear fashionm it hardly matters, right?
     
  5. ciavyn
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    ciavyn Senior Member

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    I've done it both ways. I think if you have a solid plot line and you know for sure what you want each chapter to say, it is easier to write in a linear process. When you aren't sure, then I like to play around, write the ending, a little back story, the high point of the story, etc. There's no one right way - play around and have fun with it - that is what will keep you writing.
     
  6. Ommonite
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    Ommonite Senior Member

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    For writing, yes. Easy and problems can always be fixed.

    For storytelling, it works and fails depending on the writer. you also have to make the reader aware that time has moved without saying the date or "6 months prior"

    Tarantino did it.
     
  7. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    All that really matters is that you can put it all in the right order once you're done. Film directors have to do it all the time since it's very hard to film the scenes in order.
     
  8. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    It can be done. Just be sure, as others above said, to keep track of what's going on at all the different points so you don't create plot discontinuities. (For example, say you decide to skip to Chapter 12 where Character A appears; then a month later you write Chapter 4, where Character A has been killed or has moved to a different location. Oops.)

    You also want to avoid falling into the trap of writing all the exciting parts first and then being stuck with all the "dull" stuff that has to necessarily come in between them. It had better not REALLY be dull stuff, of course, but compared to the exciting parts it might feel that way. This is one reason why I prefer to write a story in order from beginning to end, because otherwise I'd write all the fun stuff and I'd have little to look forward to along the way. It's like getting a nice dinner and eating all the good stuff until you're left with just the so-so part of the meal but you have to finish that too. I like to finish with some of the good stuff! That's why dessert is saved for last.

    Also, your writing--your style, or the personality of a character you've created, various things like this--could change drastically over time, so when you finally get the whole story strung together you definitely want to read it in order, to see if you need to modify things like this. You might start out envisioning Character B as a total jerk in some chapters, then discover that you've written him to be a pretty likeable guy in other parts.

    Continuity is the key. And not using skipping around as an excuse to avoid the "boring parts." You have to write them sometime.
     
  9. Scarecrow28
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    Scarecrow28 Contributing Member

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    I'm probably just going to stick to writing it in a linear fashion. A lot of my story is built around historical details that are vital to the plotline and I'm concerned that skipping around might cause me to accidentally miss these. If worse comes to worse and I can't right it linearly, I'll resort to skipping around. But otherwise, I'm just going to write it the "normal" way.
     
  10. ParanormalWriter
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    ParanormalWriter Contributing Member

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    I occasionally skip around in my stories. I try not to do it too often, because it sometimes leaves a confusing mess for me to come back and clean up later. I almost always skip to the end though and write the final chapter shortly after beginning the first one. My reason for this is that by the end of a story I'm usually losing steam. I'm bored with the idea and no longer feeling inspired. I write the end while I'm still in love with the story so when the reader gets to the finish they won't be left with an ending that feels flat or rushed. I think readers can sense it when a writer has lost interest in a story.
     
  11. inkslinger
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    inkslinger Contributing Member

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    I find myself doing this quite a bit. Sometimes it helps if I just start at a random point in the story and then backtrack from there. It really all just depends, though. Make sure you stay organized. If you're going to be skipping around sometimes you'll confuse what scene goes where and it may get a bit messy. But you're definitely not alone, because I skip around too.
     

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