Friday, November 25, 2011

What order do you write in?

I know a lot of other writers who have no problem writing stories out of chronological order. And I understand the benefits of doing this. I get stuck a lot of the time, and instead of writing future scenes like I possibly should, I either force myself through the slow parts or I give up.

Obviously, the whole "giving up" thing can lead to problems––mostly the guilt that I abandon so many of  my poor little stories. But on the other hand, I can't seem to force myself to write out of order. I do plan ahead as I write, I just don't want to "skip" anything as I'm actually writing.

Of course, just as there are benefits to writing out of order, I think there are benefits to writing in chronological order as well. My fear is that, if I didn't write in chronological order, I would only write the "interesting" parts of the story––the main events and whatnot––and skip over everything in between. Sure, the in-between stuff can be kind of dull, but I also think it's important for creating tension and building character relationships, etc. I guess I feel like, if I don't force myself through the less interesting parts, I don't know my characters well enough to be sure of how they would respond in the most disastrous situations––if that makes sense. I find that my characters usually turn out differently from what I initially expect, and if I wrote out of order, maybe I would miss out on that.

So, what does everyone else think? Do you write in or out of chronological order? What do you think are the costs and benefits of each?

10 comments:

  1. I have to write in chronological order too. I know I'll skip all the interesting parts if I write out of order. Also, I might loose track of all the subtleties, like whether or not I've mentioned a minor character for the first time or not. Plus it's exciting to write it as though I'm reading it. I get to find out stuff along the way, and I can get frustrated with building up tension, only to to be really excited and happy to reach that moment of catharsis. Also, it makes it easier to do horrible things to my main character just to see how they turn out. And I think another reason I need to write in chronological order is because I'm not much of one for outlines (except the one that I keep updating in my mind) so I need some sort of structure to keep me going.
    -Veronica

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  2. Sorry, I meant to say that I'll only do the interesting parts, not skip them.
    -Veronica

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  3. Good point about the little, subtle things. I'd probably forget about those, too. Even when I'm writing in order I do that sometimes. Haha. :P Exactly. I feel like I should experience it as if I'm reading it, or like I'm going through the whole thing step-by-step with the characters. I do outline, but I'm still too worried to try writing out of chronological order. Besides, I tend to not follow my outlines entirely. So at first I think something *might* happen, but then it just might not feel right for the story as I'm going through it.

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  4. I have to write in chronological order...I get too caught up in certain plot points otherwise and then don't flesh out the transitions. And overall, I think it just reads awkwardly if I don't do it in the order it's supposed to be in. But I think that writing out of order is admirable; I just can't do it. And I agree with Veronica about losing track of the subtleties. I'd probably misplace certain events or details if I wrote out of order, which would probably be an editing nightmare. On the other hand, it might not be a bad idea to purposely write a story out of order for the giggles.

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  5. Yeah, I feel the same way...
    I purposefully wrote something out of order once, but it even confuses *me*, not to mention all the people who read it. lol. I had to write down all the events in the story and figure out what order they went in. >.<

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  6. XD Well, at least now you know that perhaps writing out of order isn't really the best way to write for you. Chronological order, woohoo!

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  7. For my NaNoWriMo novel, at least, I wrote several scenes/parts before I got there. One fight when I was inspired/in a fighting mood, and the other, a wedding, cause I was in the mood and not actually feeling like continuing on where I had left off. and it helped, I just stuck them in where it fit. :)

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  8. I write short stories in chronological order then play around with my universe to make them all fit together.

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  9. I'm like you when it comes to writing but I forced myself to write ahead of my current point in my story and then idea's started flowing, it works for me. : ) By the way I really enjoy your blog, it's helped me from the few weeks (new reader) I've known it, ha-ha.

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    1. Haha cool. And thanks! Glad it's been helping you. :)

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