How do you write?

The writing process, writing advice, and updates on your work in progress
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How do you write?

Post by Crystal » December 31st, 2009, 1:48 pm

Do you write your story in order Chapter 1 - Chapter ?? Or do you write random scenes and then piece them together?

I started out with Chapter 1 and got to 5 and am pretty happy with it so far. But I found myself getting stuck and not knowing where to go next and a lot of days I ended up writing nothing. For Christmas I got a book, Your First Novel, and I have been reading it regularly. In it was a suggestion to put your scenes on 3x5 cards and then spread them out on the table and see where the gaps are and where maybe the order works or doesn't. I did that and it has sparked a lot of writing in the last day or so, but it is random. I have now written the end of several chapters that I haven't a clue where they will end up, but in my mind at least I have made progress again and I am sure I can work it out eventually.

What is your experience? I have seen those that have poster boards and other ideas. Just curious.

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Re: How do you write?

Post by Terry » December 31st, 2009, 2:14 pm

I seem to write along in sequence, until a random scene from later in the story pops into my head, so I write that, then go back.

I like the card idea, though. Thanks for sharing it.

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A La Vanille
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Re: How do you write?

Post by A La Vanille » December 31st, 2009, 2:23 pm

I tried that technique once - the one where you don't write in order.
Did not work.

I like to write in sequence because as I'm writing, I want it to be like I'm growing up with my characters, you know? Living their lives with them. (Not that I'm saying I've created a Mary Sue). When writing in order, some random things pop up that I may be able to use later on. So rather than just writing stuff out of order and filling in the blanks later, I like to fill in the blanks as I go along, to get a better feel for my story and my characters.

Anyways, I'm one of those paranoid people who have to have everythine done first before they can move on.

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Re: How do you write?

Post by taylormillgirl » December 31st, 2009, 3:20 pm

I need a solid, comprehensive outline. I've tried writing by the seat of my pants, but it simply doesn't work for me. I love, love, love the snowflake method. It's very labor intensive, but exactly what I need. (I don't have a link handy. Just google the snowflake writing method). Of course, the story will probably deviate from the outline as it takes on a life of its own, but that's okay.

Edited to add: I usually write from beginning to end, but if a particular scene is vivid in my mind, I'll write it out of sequence and stash it away for later.
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Re: How do you write?

Post by Nick » December 31st, 2009, 3:46 pm

My mind holds my ideas very clearly for 48 hours so long as I wasn't asleep or half-asleep when I had the idea. Then they degrade very slowly after that. So I just let an idea, no matter how late it comes in the book, knock around in my head until I get to it. Always write in sequence. Even if my first idea is for the middle of chapter one -- in fact with my current WIP, first idea I had is the first line of dialogue, just after the second paragraph of the first chapter -- I always start at the very beginning. No hopping around. Even when editing, I go through in order, each and every single time. My writing is a story, and a story is read from beginning to end, not beginning to middle to beginning to end to middle.

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Re: How do you write?

Post by trini » December 31st, 2009, 4:28 pm

I write in pieces. I have a skeleton outline so I kind of know where I am going but it is a changeable thing. I have these wonderful threads that need to be woven together and I am not exactly certain what the finished item will look like.
"It was a dark and stormy nightmare..."

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Re: How do you write?

Post by r louis scott » December 31st, 2009, 5:50 pm

I find that I clearly have to follow where the characters lead me. This can get exciting at times, because when you suddenly realize how the book ends it is a great day indeed.

For the most part, I proceed in chapter order. I'm not one of those people that rips through their story and then goes back and fixes it. Oh no, I plod along, like a farmer plowing with oxen, but the row I leave behind is just about the way I want it.

One major deviation from this is my Sandbox. While each chapter of my books get their own document in that book folder, there is one more document called the Sandbox. When the oxen are plowing slower than usual I sometimes write a scene in the sandbox that sounds good, but may or may not make it into the final story. For the book I am preparing to query, there are about 60K words left behind in the Sandbox. Maybe some of them will find a home in the sequel.

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Re: How do you write?

Post by shadow » December 31st, 2009, 9:04 pm

chapter by chapter.
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Re: How do you write?

Post by Kaitlyne » December 31st, 2009, 11:30 pm

I'm weak on story and I know this, so I really need to outline and plan in advance to give myself a good idea of what the conflict is going to be and make sure the story works as a whole. My plots still tend to be pretty simple, but they're much better than they once were because of it.

Otherwise, I write linearly. Ages ago I did try writing a book out of order, but that didn't work for me at all. I ended up with all these random scenes, and then I'd think of something cool and write something new, and in the end I just had two hundred pages worth of scenes with nothing interconnecting them so I gave up. It was fun, it just wasn't ever going to turn into an actual novel that way.

I do keep a page of notes, however, and I'll sketch out scenes in the notes, sometimes a full half the book in advance. I had my last scene mostly written out probably two hundred pages from the end last time. What's cool is that I typically really look forward to those scenes, so it's good motivation to keep going because I get excited about them the closer I get. :)

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Re: How do you write?

Post by CharleeVale » January 1st, 2010, 11:56 pm

If something is flowing in the moment I'll write in sequence, otherwise I don't necessarily do that. I'll get an idea for a scene and I'll write it. I'm actually in the 'gap-filling' stage right now on my manuscript.

I've also done the card method. My current WIP has several POVs, so it's nice to see how the sequencing will work out.


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Re: How do you write?

Post by Scott » January 2nd, 2010, 8:26 pm

In sequence, always. There's an organic evolution that happens to my tone and prose, and it kinda needs to be that way. I also like to experience the discovery this way.

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Re: How do you write?

Post by marilyn peake » January 9th, 2010, 7:00 pm

My process is the same as Scott describes, although I often know the ending or have a general idea of how I want the book to end.
Marilyn Peake

Novels: THE FISHERMAN’S SON TRILOGY and GODS IN THE MACHINE. Numerous short stories. Contributor to BOOK: THE SEQUEL. Editor of several additional books. Awards include Silver Award, 2007 ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Awards.

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Re: How do you write?

Post by AAlicia88 » January 10th, 2010, 12:01 pm

I write in sequence, but the first draft acts as an outline. When I'm start rewriting I know my characters inside and out and the story takes a life of its own. But still in sequence.

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Re: How do you write?

Post by dode » January 11th, 2010, 3:12 am

I'm very ocd, so I have to keep a basic outline with main plot points continually, even after i change something i have to change my outline immediately.

I always know the ending, often writing it first so my entire MS can build towards that, weaving the thread from beginning elements to the ending elements. But other than that, chapter 1, 2, 3, 4 etc, unless of course a good idea pops up. The good ideas get listed on a checklist type form with a box to be filled in and a short description of scene, quote, event with notes on when and where to be inserted into story. This is the one thing that keeps me from being overwhelmed by the amount of information in the story. It's real simple, and new ideas just get tacked onto the bottom of the list. As I edit sequentially I fit it in.

Also, a spreadsheet with word counts to make sure "chapter" pacing keeps up. I don't like extremely long chapters, so the numbers let me visually see how much is in each chapter. Longer in beginning and maybe leading up to climax, but shorter in the middle.

Tried the index card thing, but way too scatterbrained for me. I need ORDER!!!

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Re: How do you write?

Post by Teri » January 11th, 2010, 12:11 pm

I usually write chapter to chapter. But, every once in a while, I get an idea and have to
insert a chapter or scene.

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