1. Killer300
    Offline

    Killer300 Active Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2011
    Messages:
    1,064
    Likes Received:
    37

    Writing Backwards?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Killer300, May 27, 2012.

    Specifically, have you ever written something, and then felt like you had to keep going backwards in the plot, as you still haven't found the beginning? The reason why is because this happened twice for me, although the second had to do with it being a bad place tone wise to begin things.

    So, has this happened to you? Am I getting worried over nothing, since the plot is getting written? Or does this mean that the plot has some issues that need looking at? I always did find the beginning the hardest part, and perhaps this is why.
     
  2. agentkirb
    Offline

    agentkirb Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2009
    Messages:
    494
    Likes Received:
    8
    Location:
    Houston
    This has never happened to me. But then again, I'm the type of person that essentially plans out the major plot points in my story before I even put pen to paper. I'll think of extra sub-plots in the middle of writing, but I'm always expanding the middle of the story rather than adding more things to the beginning. So in one way you shouldn't have anything to worry about because I've certainly added to the story after already having "cemented" the major plot points... but perhaps it's a little weird that you keep adding stuff to the beginning. I suppose if the whole story works then there isn't anything wrong with it. And certainly it's better to make such a change than to not add anything in the first place.
     
  3. louis1
    Offline

    louis1 Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2012
    Messages:
    238
    Likes Received:
    7
    never happened to me, cause like agentkirb, i do a lot of planning. and by a lot i mean i don't write a word before i know what the characters breath smells like during each and every scene.
    anyway, i don't think you have to worry about this. if you come up with something good, that it's a great way to write. if it works for you no problem!
     
  4. Tesoro
    Offline

    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2011
    Messages:
    2,825
    Likes Received:
    290
    Location:
    A place with no future
    I can just echo the two previous posters. I'm the same, a planner. It does sound a little weird. Maybe you could try to think more thoroughly about it and work out the plot points before starting, if this bothers you?
     
  5. Killer300
    Offline

    Killer300 Active Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2011
    Messages:
    1,064
    Likes Received:
    37
    Yes, it looks like I have quite a bit different type of writing than you guys.:p Planning... has never worked out for me. I'm a much more chaotic type I realize now.

    With that in mind, thanks, and so far, it isn't too bad.
     
  6. Fivvle
    Offline

    Fivvle Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 24, 2012
    Messages:
    214
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Washington
    Dude, I actually know what you're talking about! I CANNOT start a story where I think the beginning should be. Unfortunately, I'm also at a loss for how to remedy this. Maybe I should not bother writing that elusive "real" beginning? It's just so scary for some reason!
     
  7. Mckk
    Offline

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2010
    Messages:
    4,749
    Likes Received:
    2,535
    Start your story where your story starts :D

    Where does the action start? What triggers the story that is your novel? Start at the trigger or slightly before the trigger.
     
  8. shadowwalker
    Offline

    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2011
    Messages:
    3,299
    Likes Received:
    851
    I haven't done this, either, and I'm not a planner. But whatever gets the story written. Agents, publishers, and readers don't care one whit how you did it. ;)
     
  9. Killer300
    Offline

    Killer300 Active Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2011
    Messages:
    1,064
    Likes Received:
    37
    True, and honestly, it does appear I'm at least discovering more about how I write, to say the least.
     
  10. KMilz
    Offline

    KMilz Member

    Joined:
    May 27, 2012
    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    0
    I've gotta disagree with most people on here - writing a story backwards can be a great way to go about things. You already have that perfect, awesome, climactic scene in your head? Then start there! Get to know your characters and the ending, and then you can plan everything backwards.

    It works very well. You can make sure that everything connects so easily, going from the events leading up to the climax to what happened before that and what happened before that. You can make sure that every little bit of your story matters, and is important, because you'll know exactly what needs to be done to reach that final point.

    It helps for developing twists, too, because when you know exactly how it twists at the end, you can develop those points out quite well throughout the rest of the story. By the time you're back at the beginning, you've got the smallest little details that will seem unimportant but will amount to something huge at the end. It can have quite the effect.

    I should say, though, that this is only in regards to prewriting, getting your ideas down and what not. I would not write an actual story backwards unless I was going for some sort of reverse chronological shit, but that's not what you're talking about. So for developing ideas, it can be very helpful. For writing an actual story... I can't say the same would hold true.
     
  11. Fivvle
    Offline

    Fivvle Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 24, 2012
    Messages:
    214
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Washington
    Robert Jordan wrote each installment in the Wheel of Time series by simply having three or four major events he had already planned to have be covered in one book. He didn't exactly know how he was going to get the story from one point to the next, but he just started writing and it worked out pretty damn well. You've probably heard this a lot - probably know this already - but the story will start to almost write itself. From there it's much easier.
     
  12. AmyHolt
    Offline

    AmyHolt Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2011
    Messages:
    475
    Likes Received:
    17
    Location:
    Warsaw, IN
    The scene that spurred me to write a story ended up being in chapter 10. I wrote what was hot at the time until I had a very holey story and then went back and colored in the empty places. Maybe not the best method but it worked; the story is finished and after a great dealt of polish is a respectable story.
     
  13. Ettina
    Offline

    Ettina Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2011
    Messages:
    441
    Likes Received:
    20
    Usually when I'm tempted to start writing a story at the end, I end up realizing that it's actually the beginning, and what I thought was the story is really backstory.
     
  14. PeterC
    Offline

    PeterC Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2011
    Messages:
    191
    Likes Received:
    24
    Location:
    Vermont, USA
    In my case the scene that inspired me to write my current WIP eventually got dropped! It was a painful decision but I knew it had to go long before I actually killed it.
     
  15. JonSpear360
    Offline

    JonSpear360 Member

    Joined:
    May 6, 2012
    Messages:
    36
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    IL
    I understand both sides. I am NOT a planner, or outliner. That said, I usually have a pretty clear outline of the story in my head before I start writing, even if that is just character arc or character past, so I always start a story in the action so it isn't a ton of exposition to begin with. You are thrown right into the fray, and then as the pages progress you slowly understand what is happening and I seem to think that flows the best for the type of stories I tend to write.

    When I first saw the title for this post, I was under the assumption that you were writing the last chapter and then fleshing out how every character got to that. That could be effective but I can guarantee you that by the time you get to that final chapter the character's voice will be DRASTICALLY different. So just be aware of that probability.

    But I guess my comment would just be - Who cares? Who cares how you start writing, as long as you're writing. Most professional writers believe strongly that the actual story is created in revision and editing, so as long as you're getting you thoughts on paper you are well above most hobbyist writers. It's really easy to procrastinate with social networking, online videos, even forums and "how-to-write" type tutorials. As long as you're writing, I wouldn't fret how you are getting to your ideas.
     
  16. AmyHolt
    Offline

    AmyHolt Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2011
    Messages:
    475
    Likes Received:
    17
    Location:
    Warsaw, IN
    Wow that smarts! But good for you. I think the inability to cut what isn't needed is one of the seven deadly sins of writing. (I don't know what the other sins would be because I just made that up but it sounded good and I couldn't cut it.) :D
     
  17. Killer300
    Offline

    Killer300 Active Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2011
    Messages:
    1,064
    Likes Received:
    37
    Yes. Well, again, I've figured out of late I'm a rather chaotic writer, especially as pre-planning... never has worked out.
     
  18. Mallory
    Offline

    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2010
    Messages:
    4,274
    Likes Received:
    191
    Location:
    Tampa Bay
    Writing backward is how I'm writing the book I"m on right now. And it's working really well for me.

    I started with the beginning, then did the end, now am working on the middle in terms of how things get to be the way they end up.
     
  19. EdFromNY
    Offline

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2010
    Messages:
    4,685
    Likes Received:
    2,534
    Location:
    Queens, NY
    I just found this thread, and it's very interesting to me. For the project I'm on right now, a historical, I am following a plan of researching going forward in time (from about 1500), then planning going backwards, then writing going forward. It's the only way I can make sure that everything gets tied together the way I want it.
     
  20. FirstTimeNovelist91
    Offline

    FirstTimeNovelist91 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2012
    Messages:
    106
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    United States
    Stephenie Meyer wrote from the middle to the end and then wrote the beginning. It worked for her!
     
  21. Mckk
    Offline

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2010
    Messages:
    4,749
    Likes Received:
    2,535
    I'd say write it how you like depending on experience. If it's your first novel, then I wouldn't write backwards. But if you've written a few novels by now and feel confident about what works and what doesn't, then I think make a nice little plan so you have a skeleton to look at, work out if it sits right, and give it a go :) Regardless of everything else, if you think writing backwards works for your book, then clearly "the end" is your beginning, I wouldn't worry about it unless more than one or two of your proofreaders/editors/beta readers complain :)
     
  22. ...
    Offline

    ... Member

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2012
    Messages:
    64
    Likes Received:
    2
    many writers experience the same thing. Look at Star Wars...

    that's just one example.

    I'd say largely ignore the past and save it for another story. you can add them together later.
     
  23. Roger Morris
    Offline

    Roger Morris New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2012
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    A similar thing happened about 2 years ago to me except that I had a beginning to the story but I kept on forgetting the plot. I sometimes forget things especially if I have so many things in my mind...
     
  24. mclanier235
    Offline

    mclanier235 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2012
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Georgia
    I normally work out the ending before I ever write the first word. I find this makes it much easier having a destination for me to write towards. This isn't necessarily writing backwards, but there are many strengths to that approach. I think you avoid loopholes more and keep the continuity of your story easier. Bottom line... do what works for you =)
     

Share This Page