1. Sylvester
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    Sylvester Member

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    Writing scenes in order or not?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Sylvester, Nov 28, 2010.

    Is it better to write scenes as they happen or can you do the main scenes first and then do the scenes that link them?

    For instance, you know the hero is going to have a major battle. Is it okay to do that scene and then write the scenes that get him/her there later.
     
  2. Show
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    Show Contributing Member Contributor

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    I guess whatever works for you is okay. I personally find it really difficult to write out of order. I've done it, but not often. Chronologically writing stories just works better for me.
     
  3. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    It's all down to which you're most comfortable with, but I find that writing out of order requires a lot more effort in either the planning or the editing stages, as it's very easy for continuity errors to slip in.
     
  4. Unit7
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    Unit7 Contributing Member Contributor

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    In what order you write your story in is completely up to you. You could evil write it from ending to begining or you could write from begining but writing the words backwards.

    Whatever works best for you is just fine. Personally I don't like writing my story out of order. I feel that as long as I got those great moments coming up I know I have something to aim for and sort of a personal reward.
     
  5. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Like some of the others if it works for you that is great.

    However personally writing out of order wouldn't work for me. However I don't work with a plan - sometimes I never get to the great scene or I come up with a better unexpected one along the way. A lot of my greatest story moments wouldn't exist if I wrote out of order. Only things I sometimes do early on is if I have thought of a funky scene to end with.
     
  6. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    Never mind planning, I've found that skipping to the interesting parts means that writing the bridging stuff is just annoying. All the most boring parts come last, and all your enthusiasm was spent too fast.

    Now, making notes on what will come next and what is important is fine. But I like a story to have an organic feel, like, each word grows from the last. Emotionally, things grow in a way that's a lot harder to predict than events. I'd never want to write a scene that comes after another scene which might just be an emotional bridge from one thing to another, just because I like to know where I've been coming from. Also, my characters frequently mention stuff that happened before in their dialogue, and it'd feel so phoney to write a scene not knowing exactly what happened that they are referring to.
     
  7. Noya Desherbanté
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    Noya Desherbanté Senior Member

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    I've often toyed with the idea of writing scenes as they come to me, rather than saving them for later - I think they'd turn out better while they were fresh in my mind. I wouldn't worry about linking them all up because I enjoy twisting things to suit other things, if that makes sense, and whatever happened in the book, no matter how unrelated, I could link.

    But I have just edited a draft of a work in progress backwards, as in working through the last chapter, then the penultimate, then the one before that, until I come to the beginning. Sometimes if I edit from the beginning my brain switches to 'not this old thing again' mode and I feel I'm more likely to skim over stuff that needs work, if it comes up when I expect it to - but if I view the book as a series of scenes, rather than a narrative, I can edit without being distracted.
     
  8. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Your choice.

    I haven't really done it out of sequence, because I'd probably get lost or bored if I were to write all the 'juicy bits' first.
     
  9. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    imo when telling a story it's best to just write it from start to finish, so it'll read like a story and not a series of individual scenes that have been sorted through, picked up and stuck together...
     
  10. hiddennovelist
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    hiddennovelist Contributing Member Contributor

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    I write in order until I get stuck, then jump ahead to the next segment I have ideas for. At the beginning of my next writing session, I skim through what I wrote previously and, most of the time, having sections from different parts of the story helps the creativity flow so I can come up with good stuff for the missing parts.
     
  11. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Mammamaia has a good point - even if you know what'll happen, writing chronologically has the advantages of keeping the tone, style etc flowing the way it's supposed to flow.

    If there's a scene where you know what'll happen but it's hard to write for some reason, I do think that it's okay to temporarily skip it and fill it in later, but I would recommend against writing multiple scenes out-of-order and then stringing them together.

    Even if the writing's great, certain things would be lost if you did that. Symbolism, foreshadowing, parallelisms, etc that naturally happen on their own when you write in order. :)
     
  12. popsicledeath
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    popsicledeath Banned

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    In general, having scenes out of chronological order can work. I find it often works best when it's two in-order movements paralleled back and forth. I've seen it work where the climax is given right away, and then the story is the build to that climax.

    A major battle? What genre? I think having the climax first works best in character driven stories, as the whole point isn't the big-badda-boom anyhow, but the journey. If you're just trying to do the novice, usually fantasy, thing of having the super-exciting battle first to hook the reader, reconsider it. A lot of writers think this is a good hook, and 99% of the time it's just a meaningless pew-pew with the equivalent-depth of a terrible action movie.

    It all depends on your motivation. But if your thought process even comes close to 'this fight is so cool, the reader is sure to keep reading after all these explosions' then I'd not do it.
     
  13. Newfable
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    Newfable Senior Member

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    I usually write in order of what's going on, writing small summaries or pictures of future scenes that might flash through my head.

    But like everyone else said, there's no right or wrong way to do it, so long as it gets done without major continuity errors or anything like that.
     
  14. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    On those few occasions when I've written things out of order, I've found that when the story catches up to the point that I had previously written, there has been a subtle change and it no longer fits. I think that's because characters constantly evolve as we write their stories, even if we've planned in advance, and we discover things about them anew and fold them into the story.
     

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