1. Red96
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    Red96 New Member

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    Skipping Around The Story

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Red96, Jan 10, 2013.

    Hello everyone! I'm new to this forum and pretty new to serious writing. I've always loved writing, and have been told by many people that I'm good at it, but I've never taken myself seriously until now. I am trying to write my first book. Right now I'm just dipping my toes in the idea of it actually being good. The other night, I decided that my original plot idea was way overdone. I love paranormal fiction, and the idea of a powerful female protagonist, but turned my original idea away from paranormal fiction and into the direction of something that could possibly happen in real life. To me, that is way more frightening and exciting to read (and more fun to write about). As I was watching TV the other night, a scene popped into my head that was full of action and blood and intense moments. I quickly got out my laptop and went to work. About 2 hours later I had a pretty solid scene written out that I am happy with. At first, I thought that this scene would be a good opener, but as I re-read it a few times, I decided it was too intense for an opening scene. My question for everyone is, is it okay to skip around and write scenes as they come to you? Or is it better to write straight through?
     
  2. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's absolutely okay. I do it all the time. I think it's best to write the scene when it has come to you - that's when you have the passion for it. You can always revise it later if you need to tweak it to fit the story once it's time to put it in its proper place.
     
  3. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    You can write your scenes in any order you like. The first scene I wrote for my novel wound up being part of chapter 4 (my chapters are 8,000 to 12,000 words long, usually, and the first draft had only eight chapters). I filled in the earlier stuff at a later time.
     
  4. Red96
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    Red96 New Member

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    Thanks! How long does it usually take to write a novel? Months or years? My grandma wrote one and it took her about 10 years. I don't want to take that long but I don't want to rush through it. Is there like an average amount of time?
     
  5. Mithrandir
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    Mithrandir Contributing Member

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    It depends entirely on you. I write a thousand words a day. Stephen King writes two thousand (of much higher quality). How much time you put in will determine when it gets published.
     
  6. Red96
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    Red96 New Member

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    Okay. I figured that was probably the case. Thanks!
     
  7. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    It depends, of course, on who you are and on what kind of novel you're writing. Georges Simenon (a major French novelist) wrote short novels exclusively, and he could complete a novel in a week and a half, on average. On the other hand, James Joyce (the classic Modernist experimentalist) took seven years to write his Ulysses and seventeen years to write the almost-unreadably-complex Finnegans Wake. So, how long is the book you plan? How complicated is it, plotwise and philosophy-wise? How much time per week to you have to devote to it? Are you a genius who can write brilliant stuff extremely quickly, or are you like the rest of us, who have to work long and hard to produce something barely readable? All of this influences how long it takes.
     
  8. PaulKemp24
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    PaulKemp24 Member

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    The first one may likely take the longest because you've never done it before so it's all new to you. Consider doing a piece of middle grade fiction, which can run in the 10-20,000 word ballpark. If you're eager to get something finished, bang out a 15,000 word piece targeted toward kids in the 7-10 year old age range. You say you're interested in paranormal stuff? Perfect. Plenty of middle grade books about ghosts and witches, etc. Kids love reading about that stuff. Maybe a story about a kid who's visiting his grandmother and she lives in this very old and large and spooky home and the kid is forced to sleep in a loft upstairs for the weekend and he's convinced there's a ghost up there and he ...... (that was just off the top of my head).

    Something like that would satisfy both of your desires because it's paranormal and it would be short so you could finish it quickly. Good luck.
     
  9. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't completely agree with this advice. I believe you should only write MG if that's what you want to write. Don't write MG because it has a shorter word count. If you want to write something with a shorter word count, write a short story or even a novella. You have to write what you're passionate about. Jeff Kinney, who wrote the Wimpy Kid books loves those characters. He's all about those stories. He didn't write them because they had shorter word counts. He wrote them because that was the character in his heart and that's what he wanted to write.

    I don't think I could write a MG novel. It's just not my thing. But as the mother of a MG-aged child, I'm thrilled that there are people out there for whom that is their passion.
     
  10. PaulKemp24
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    PaulKemp24 Member

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    I hear ya. I was just thinking that if the OP is so eager to get something finished than a shorter word count is the obvious solution. And since they've never written a book before than they may not have really found their voice yet so maybe there's a MG writer in them and they just haven't discovered it yet. But you're right --- if you're worried about how long it will take than you're probably not writing for the right reasons. Write because your passionate about it and you enjoy doing it and not because you "just want to get something done." Have the patience and take the time to do it well, not just do it quickly.
     
  11. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    First, as to jumping around: as others have said, it's fine to do if that's what you are comfortable with. As with most approaches to writing, there are few hard-and-fast rules. But there is an aspect to jumping ahead that you need to keep in mind: if you jump ahead to write a piece of your story, then go back and try to "write up" to it, when you get to the part you had previously written, you will likely find subtle changes in your characters and the part you wrote initially may require numerous changes. That's because your characters tend to grow and develop as you write about them. But I still do it on occasion if I feel I've become bogged down and need to break out of a funk.

    As for the time to write a novel, much will depend on your own approach to writing but it will also depend on your personal circumstances. Life tends to intrude, and I have found over the years that the most important thing is not necessarily to write at all costs, but to be flexible so that you have the emotional stability to deal with whatever comes your way while at the same time not losing your passion or commitment to writing. At times, I will go a couple of weeks or a month without writing a word, and I decided a long time ago that I'm okay with that because I never lose sight of what I ultimately want to do.

    There are those who insist on writing a certain number of words per day, no matter what. Joseph Wambaugh ("The Onion Field") does that, and apparently Stephen King does, too. If it works for them, good for them. I can't work that way. The worst thing you can do, IMHO, is adopt a writing approach simply because someone else does it.

    Good luck.
     
  12. Red96
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    Red96 New Member

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    Thank you everyone for the replies. I could use any advice I could get. I am really wanting to focus my story on young adult fiction (my main character is 18). Right now my plot is about a fallen America. Not really apocalyptic, but close. I am not interested in finishing this book within the next few months, probably not even within the next year. I am going to college for Creative Writing (among other things) in 2014 so I have a feeling I am going to want to tweak the book a little after I have a few classes under my belt. I really don't have much time for writing at the moment with finals coming up. I think the word count at the moment is around 1500, but that's only from the last few days. I started writing and then completely changed my plot and started over. As I move along in the writing process I'm sure I will have many more questions to ask you all so bare with me. Thanks again!
     

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