Sunday, September 25, 2011

My Bad

Okay, maybe writing out of sequence isn't all it's cracked up to be. At least all I cracked it up to be.

After making this big wahoo-discovery (last post) and thinking I'd latched on to something pretty spectacular, well . . . mea culpa.

To be honest, I find myself in a place where I need—desperately need—to know what happens next. And because I've not written sequentially, I'm all discombobulated about what has already happened. So now, I'm reading through the scenes that are linked. Scenes that are in order. Scenes I'd written before my Great Discovery.


I still think, when supremely stuck, or when a certain scene falls into your head fully formed, non-sequential writing is okay. But I took a good thing and, as I often do with chocolate and peanut butter, I overindulged, resulting in an upset stomach. For me, moderation is the key.

Some people may be able to put a jigsaw puzzle together willy-nilly. I need to frame it first.

CR: The Halo Effect by M.J. Rose

It's all better with friends.


  1. I've not heard of that program before, and looking at it, it is not something that I would use. I don't write that way. I write chapter by chapter. Yes, sometimes I handwrite notes for a scene later on in the book. I edit each chapter as I go, and then maybe later have to change things around a little, but seldom does that happen.

    I do use Movie Magic Screenwriter for my sceenplays, and find that easy to use.

    Maybe I learned some of that style from my husband, Don Pendleton. "Write a chapter, polish it, stick in the box."

    Works for me.

  2. Linda, I could edit until I'm the one in the box. Seriously. The first manuscript I finished read very much like a screen play . . . mostly dialogue and minimal scene or character description. But it was the only way I could actually put it in the can, so to speak.

    The others, unfinished and destined to stay that way, had chapters and scenes that had been edited and reedited to the point of sheer boredrom on my part.

    Oh . . . and Scrivener definitely allows you to go chatper by chpater. Or any other way you choose.

  3. Okay, I'll admit it . . . I'm giggling . . . just a little. But I hear what you're saying. I don't think I could write out of sequence "on purpose" -- but I do sometimes open a text or word document and rattle off random thoughts when something hits me that is not in the current scene.

    And, about jigsaw puzzles, I'm like you. I need to start with at least the corners and frame some, but I'm not above trying to fit other pieces in as I go.


  4. You understand me. It's hard enough to write these manuscripts, but when you've made (at least to yourself) a commitment to share the experience, you need to share it all. The good, the bad and the dead wrong. At least from your perspective.

    The good news is that tonight, I'm feeling back in control of my story. Well, as in control as we ever get. Tomorrow when I get serious about getting some words written, you might hear an ear-splitting scream from Colorado.

    Thanks for your support. You're an amazing lady.

  5. Good for you on feeling back in semi-control. And I'll be listening for that Colorado scream.

    Sleep tight :)

  6. Peg, since I have such a poor sense of time, i have a hard time writing out of sequence. Like you, I end up forgetting what already happened and what has yet to happen, so I end up responding to clues that haven't been found yet. Gack. I'll skip a scene if it's just not working, but i always leave a brief description of it in its place so I have the structure of the thing laid out.
    Good for you, though, for being flexible enough to try something different. I may try Scrivener. I've heard good things about it. Thanks!

  7. To tell you the truth, I'm relieved to have that little bit of experimentation behind me.

    Today, I'm going to see if, with my intial strung together scenes, I might actually have my First Fifty pages.

  8. Maybe I'm the odd ball but in forensics we see evidence witout contect or time frame so maybe it doesn't boither me as a writer (at least during the process). I suppose every author needs to use what works for them but I agree with you that it may be helpful to experiment with out-of-sequence scene writing.