1. Antaus

    Antaus Active Member

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    Skipping Around When Writing

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Antaus, May 17, 2018 at 2:44 AM.

    I was just curious if other writers skip around in their writing. Most of my stories are written from the perspective of two MC dealing with the same situation, or at least different situations related to the same thing. However I often times find myself writing several chapters ahead of one character when I get stuck with the other. The reason I do this is because it lets me see how things unfold, and it also shows me how one MCs actions affect a situation, then I kinda look at the other MC to see their reaction to the same thing and what they intend to do about it.

    I also have a tendency to write specific scene in a story before I actually get to them. These are usually high points or major events that have been waiting for a while, and suddenly I get a brilliant idea, open another open office page, write it all down, then shove it into my 'scenes' folder for that story. Funny thing is 8/10 scenes written this way do make it into the story, although their intro tends to get altered since the events leading up to them don't always line up perfectly. It's usually minor rewrites though.
     
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  2. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    I think a lot of writers try what you're doing and talking about at some point, but I've found it can be quite hard to streamline, finish and out the pieces together when writing like that. I think that's the risk you take on when you decide to write things out of order or scenes you'll use later. Personally, I've found the best way to write a story is pretty much the same as telling one. You wouldn't skip around and go all over the place if you were telling a story, would you? Of course, there are many approaches a writer can take. I've just never been able to pull off what you are talking about. The most I'll do is write a paragraph or two if something pops in my head that I'm leading up to. But even then sometimes when I write to that point, what I wrote ahead just won't fit the way I thought it would. For me, what you're doing just makes things harder. But I hope it works better for you. Good luck.
     
  3. GingerCoffee

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I skipped around, working on the scenes I was ready to write, holding off on some of the harder stuff like the human trafficking scenes.

    Now the harder chapters are written and I've assembled it the way I want. From here it is editing, editing and editing some more.
     
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  4. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    I absolutely skip around. I can’t imagine doing it any other way.

    (Which of course isn't intended to suggest that it's WRONG to do it any other way. It's just inconceivable to me.)
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2018 at 6:20 PM
  5. jannert

    jannert Member Supporter Contributor

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    I saw the title to this thread and an entirely different image popped into my head.
     
  6. Antaus

    Antaus Active Member

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    Tra la la la la la la!
     
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  7. Commander Vimes

    Commander Vimes New Member

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    I tend to write without much of a plan so start off and write maybe 1/2 to 2/3 of the novel in a linear fashion. Ch1, Ch2, Ch3 etc. But towards the end I find that with the story much more fleshed out, jump ahead and write some key scenes or small dialogue interactions ahead of time just to get them onto paper.

    I'll usually tie these in with some minor alterations, but I find it gives some added impetus to that lull you can get sometimes when you're just waiting to get to the climactic finale.

    I also find it can help, a bit like a plan, in that I know what I'm aiming for in that last few chapters and forces me to make a decision on what should occur.
     
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  8. Stormsong07

    Stormsong07 Senior Member

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    I can't do it. I have to write linearly. I can have a great idea for the next scene and be stuck on the current scene but I just can't bring myself to skip ahead and write the next part without the current part completed.
     
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  9. Lawless

    Lawless Member

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    Reading writers' forums, I have made this amazing discovery that there seem to be a great many writers who don't skip around when writing.

    I totally envy people who have the ability to envision things so clearly that they can just start writing in the beginning and go on writing until the story is complete.
     
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  10. Rick Hansen

    Rick Hansen New Member

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    I have an outline for a story and frequently skip from one part to another. Usually, it's when an idea for a part of the story that I'm not currently working on springs up. For me, when I'm working on something, it often brings forth ideas about other parts of the story so I'll skip to that part and write a rough draft, enough to capture the idea.
     
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  11. Thundair

    Thundair Senior Member

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    I will write a character's POV in advance because I know how he/she is going to react. Then I would find a place to fit into my story line.
    The only trouble is, the characters change my story and I don't get to use much of the advanced writing.
     
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  12. jannert

    jannert Member Supporter Contributor

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    There are certainly pluses to both methods, I reckon. I've done both, and will probably continue to do both, depending on the story and how preplanned it is.

    I wrote my first novel by writing bits as they came to me and joining them up later, allowing the story to evolve its own way. Not only did this keep me from getting stuck and stalled, but it also made me realise that a lot of the scenes I intended to write (and didn't) were simply getting characters from A to B. I discovered there are quicker ways to do that. I didn't have to write these scenes after all.

    Folks often get the notion that if you write linearly, with a 'plan' in place, you won't waste time. However, it's more tempting, when writing in a linear way, to include lots of stuff you really don't need. Stuff that could be condensed with a phrase or sentence like: "Two days later, she had finished papering the walls, and was ready to start painting the furniture."

    When you're writing in a linear way, it's tempting to write the character through her entire wallpapering process—coffee breaks, getting stuck in paste, etc. Turns out, it's not necessary. If you have already written the furniture-painting scene (the important one :)) because you jumped ahead to do it, you may realise you actually don't need to write the wallpapering as well. Just tell the reader the wallpapering has been done. That will do nicely.

    My second novel contains the fully-developed characters and fallout from the situation I created in my first novel, so I have a firmer grasp on the story itself. It also has to dovetail with an external timeframe (it's a historical novel), so I'm writing it in a linear way this time. We'll see how that turns out.

    I have to say, it's not as much fun as writing in a less controlled way, though! Not so many good surprises for me. And ...even though I'm only four chapters in, I have already cut several scenes I wrote that turned out to be 'wallpapering.' I'm sure that as I write more, this tendency to write stuff I don't actually need will fade. Speaking as a relatively newbie writer, however, it's easy to assume that everything a character does has to be written into the story. It doesn't.

    Sometimes I wonder if that's why many new writers get writer's block. Maybe it's a subconscious recognition that what they think they ought to be writing isn't really necessary—but they don't want to skip over writing the 'boring bits', because they've told themselves that they're not allowed to do that.

    It might actually be a good idea to leave the boring bits out altogether. Whenever you get stuck, jump ahead to the next part of the story that interests you and write that instead. If it turns out that you actually DO need the transitions after all—so your story makes linear sense—you can always go back later on and write in any scene you originally skipped. By then, it won't be boring any more, because you will recognise its purpose more clearly.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2018 at 5:50 PM
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