Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Do You Write Out of Sequence?

Writing in sequence........it's how I write but I am wondering if this serves me best. Reading the comments on my last post it seems most of you write out of sequence. The thought fills me with great fear.......what if I can't go back in time and have huge gaping holes in my story? What if all I end up with is just a group of unconnected scenes? Could I bare to go back writing the connecting and less griping bits? I can see the nightmare swirling in front of me.

However I know that my pacing is too even in my last work and writing out of sequence may just solve that problem. Do I dare take the plunge or shall I remain in my comfort zone of careful even pacing through to the end of the story????

17 comments:

Sezzie said...

Hi Liz

I'm with you.

I always write in sequence.
I do plot, but things change as I go along, so how would I know what happens in chapter 10 until I have written chapters 8 and 9?

Stick with what feels comfortable, that's what I say.

I haven't been around much lately - been spending every spare moment editing....it's really exciting. Still have the final 2 scenes to write, but was so desperate to get going on editing that I decided they could wait!

Well done on passing the half way mark by the way - you did it considerably quicker than I did!!

TTFN (better do some work in my day job!)

Sarahx

JJ said...

Well, Liz, I think maybe we just write the way we write although it's not a reason not to challenge yourself outside your comfort zone. (Hark at me, COMFORT ZONE woman, that I am).

I've done all extended essays and dissertations completely out of order, then I go through changing the font into different colours, based on the 'topics' I'm dealing with. Then I print it all out, cut it out and reassemble it.

Of course with fiction it isn't quite as simple as that - I suppose colours could work with different threads of stories?

I suppose it doesn't come as a surprise to me that I dip in and out wherever I fancy it. Quite what happens when I don't fancy writing the scenes I'm left with, is something I refuse to worry about.

All I know is that I wasn't writing when I felt I should start at Chapter One and move forward!

Try it. You'll never know if you don't, but leave it to a day when you feel strong. Not something to do on a wobbly day! You can always go back to the way that makes you happier.

JJ

liz fenwick said...

Hi Sarah, good to hear that you are moving forward because editing is moving forward and I have now discovered very empowering....I wouldn't have said that a year ago though! I think this draft of A Cornish House will have to be written in sequence because there are too many gaps in my mind unless I have an overpowering urge to write the end and not other words will appear on the page.......

liz fenwick said...

JJ, I like the idea of the diferenent colours.....that would definately help me in visualizing the the balance of the story...I don't think I am strong enough today to write out of sequence. Thsi is propably down to the fact that I am a panster at heart and don't do ewnough plotting before hand. However when I am editing I am happy to throw in new scenes willy nilly to acheive the diesire result but then I know the structure and I know where tis going. I have a body to work with...I can reshape and move it around as much as I need at that point.......God, I'm just rambling here! Help!

hesitant scribe said...

Writing is such a personal thing, don't you think?! This is my first novel so I don't have a clue what 'works best' other than by trial and error. I think the main thing is to get something - anything - down on paper. That way you have something to work with and can then move around (chronologically that is) as you find you need to... Now I'm rambling! Right - off to do some work!

Hope everyone's well :)

liz fenwick said...

Hi Lisa. You are so right - once its down then you have something you can work with! Words are coming slowly today......must push on!

B.E. Sanderson said...

I wouldn't worry about it. I'm an in-sequence kind of person, some people aren't. That doesn't make one way better than another overall, just better for each individual. Do what works for you.

=oD

liz fenwick said...

Hi b.e. It look like the split is running 50/50. I just wonder if it would improve my writing or not but I think on this work I am too chicken to try. Maybe on the next book??

A. Writer said...

I think writers should write in whatever way they feel is productive to them.

For me I sometimes write in sequence, sometimes I write out of sequence... all comes down to personal choice.

When I write out of sequence I look at my WIP as a jigsaw puzzle. I have to connect the correct bits together to make a whole and that includes all the boring bits of sky that all look the same and the colourful middle bits that make up the picture. I hope that makes sense!!!!!

liz fenwick said...

a. writer that does make sense. I have never thought of my work ass a puzzle and I love puzzles.......

cs harris said...

I write in sequence, although I always find I've skipped some scenes that should have been in there, so I have to go back and fill in. The main problem with writing out of sequence is the danger of ending up with a book that's episodic, where one scene doesn't seem to trip naturally into the next. Yet some very successful people do it.

B.E. Sanderson said...

Hi Liz,

I like the saying "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." However, if you want to try something new because you're thinking you need to bring a fresh outlook to your writing, then go for it. If it doesn't work, you can always go back to the other way. =o)

liz fenwick said...

Thanks cs, I hadn't thought of the episodic problem....

You're right b.e., if it ain't broke don't fix it :-)

Phillipa said...

Liz,
I wrote Decent Exposure completely out of sequence but I haven't done it since. I always do revisions out of sequence - easy bits first, difficult ones last.

liz fenwick said...

Hi Phillipa, that's a good idea revisising out of sequence!

Having enjoyed Decent Expsoure so much I certianly didn't notice anything episodic about it.....so well done. But maybe I was enjoying the sex scenes too much referring to the discussion you have been having Julie of course! :-)

Saoirse Redgrave said...

I never feel that I truly have my sequence together until I've written a healthy chunk of the story. Once I get a feel for it, I do some rough plotting (and some detailed)-- but I mess around with the order until I feel it works best. I question my choices often.

I've tried only writing in sequence and it makes me twitchy. I don't really think sequentially, so writing that way sometimes feels oppressive.

But--whatever gets you writing is what you need to do. I do sometimes write a scene I really like and then dread writing the connecting pieces, but sometimes it makes me ratchet my quality up, too--just to match what I liked writing.

Just write--there's always time to think about doing it differently later (and if not, you're probably satisfied with how you did it initially, right?) ;-)

~Saoirse

Kelli B said...

I tend to write out of sequence only cuz I feel the need to keep moving or else I may stop altogether once I hit a wall. Typically, I know my beginning and my end and have a few scenes / chapters in mind, (those which I'm excited about). I start with those, then go back and fill in the blanks. The scenes I'm most excited about, tend to be my best, so they serve as quality anchors, so to speak, and then I have those standards that the rest of the book needs to live up to. It's a way of pushing myself I suppose.