Shuffle, shuffle...hop - assembling a novel

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John Dodds
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Mon Feb 11, 2008 8:03 am Post

I'm busy writing my second novel and, while I already know how it's going to end, and the key points, I find myself writing chapters in non-consecutive order. I get an idea for a scene or chapter and need to hammer it down before it's gone. At some point I'll need to start shuffling!

I'm curious to know how others write their novels. In linear, chapter by chapter fashion, or all over the shop, like me? And what challenges do you meet on the way, particularly in the reassembly job.

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antony
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Mon Feb 11, 2008 10:46 am Post

I write about 90% linear, with the occasional skipped section if there's something I'm not enthusiastic about writing just yet. But even then I only tend to skip one scene, then resume linear writing from that point onward.

I don't like writing chapters out of context, but then I'm an inveterate outliner - so if I get a cool idea for a later chapter while I'm in the middle of writing an earlier section, I just make notes for when I do reach it.
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Matthew Graybosch
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Mon Feb 11, 2008 1:46 pm Post

John Dodds wrote:I'm curious to know how others write their novels. In linear, chapter by chapter fashion, or all over the shop, like me? And what challenges do you meet on the way, particularly in the reassembly job.


For the most part, I start from the beginning and work linearly from there. Every once in a while, though, I'll skip ahead to write a scene that I haven't gotten to just yet, just because I feel like writing a fight scene, or a love scene, or a bit of conspiracy. Those scenes won't actually make it into the draft as they are, but when the time comes I'll pull them out of the "Outtakes" folder for reference.
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Radish
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Tue Feb 12, 2008 3:52 am Post

Chaotically. I write pretty much all over the place. The arc for one of my stories is currently spanning five books, and even with the outlining [the only way I can keep track of this beast] I still am writing non-linearly. And not necessarily by choice.

What my Muse gives me, she doesn't deliver in any sequence that I can recognise. The ideas and scenes come to me in no particular order, and I have to figure out where each bit belongs in the timeline. Not easy, when a new scene happens abouts two-thirds or three-quarters along the story arc, and I then have to make certain there's either foreshadowing or some kind of character basis for the event earlier in the timeline,... hence, more retrofitting.

But all of that is so much easier, now. The corkboard and outline features in Scrivener have cut down the amount of time I have to spend to grok exactly where I must put any new scene that just comes out of the blue [these new scenes usually come to me while I'm in the shower -- why is that?].

I suppose the greatest difficult in writing this way, aside from keeping the story flowing smoothly with no glaring plot-holes, is making certain the development for each character is the way it needs to be for that place of the timeline.

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vic-k
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Tue Feb 12, 2008 1:24 pm Post

Radish scrambled our synapses with:
these new scenes usually come to me while I'm in the shower -- why is that?


You`ll just have to get someone to take a photo of you in the shower, and post it here in the thread :twisted: Then maybe we can answer your question...but...then again, maybe not 8)

Welcome to Scrivener Radish.

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Matthew Graybosch
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Tue Feb 12, 2008 2:07 pm Post

Radish wrote:What my Muse gives me, she doesn't deliver in any sequence that I can recognise.


I'm glad my Muse is submissive, and does what I tell her to do (and looks good in black leather :twisted: ).
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Hugh
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Tue Feb 12, 2008 3:19 pm Post

Welcome, Radish.

Forgive me - but just what is it about Portland? :wink:

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Radish
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Tue Feb 12, 2008 6:37 pm Post

Howdy-howdy!

vic-k: a picture in the shower? Thanks for asking, however,....

Matthew Graybosch: a submissive [!?] Muse -- colour me surprised! I never knew such a thing existed. [What good's a Muse who won't kick your backside into a serious mode of production?] My own Muse is kind of imperative and naggy and all bossy-like.

Hugh: which "what is it about Portland?" There are *so* many, and I wanna make sure my response isn't non sequitur.

And thanks for the welcome, guys -- :)

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Tue Feb 12, 2008 7:58 pm Post

Radish, it's just that you have company (http://www.literatureandlatte.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2988&highlight=portland) - and, statistically, what are the odds? :wink:

P.S. Interesting and appropriate avatar :D .

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Matthew Graybosch
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Tue Feb 12, 2008 8:01 pm Post

Radish wrote:Matthew Graybosch: a submissive [!?] Muse -- colour me surprised! I never knew such a thing existed. My own Muse is kind of imperative and naggy and all bossy-like.


Well, she's a very well-behaved daemon process. If I want an idea, I tell her what to do and let her run in the background. She's much more pleasant to deal with than my inner child, who I keep bound in a black leather straitjacket, and locked in a reinforced padded cell that's shielded in lead and concrete. (And the little bastard still gets out from time to time.)

Radish wrote:What good's a Muse who won't kick your backside into a serious mode of production?


That's my wife's job. "I want to know what happens next in Starbreaker," she says, "So stop smoking crack and playing Donkey Kong!"
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Radish
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Tue Feb 12, 2008 9:02 pm Post

Hugh wrote:Radish, it's just that you have company (http://www.literatureandlatte.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2988&highlight=portland) - and, statistically, what are the odds? :wink:


So there are lotsa Portlanders here, huh? Cool!

Hugh wrote:P.S. Interesting and appropriate avatar :D .


Ah, yes. Truth in advertising [avatar? silly me, I thought it was a flashcard]. :shock:

Matthew, your inner child sounds *way* scary -- please do keep him secured. My inner child, frankly, is more like a whole tribe of ADHD munchkins. There is just too much going on in there for all that noise to be coming from just one kid.

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Matthew Graybosch
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Tue Feb 12, 2008 9:20 pm Post

Radish wrote:Matthew, your inner child sounds *way* scary -- please do keep him secured.


Don't worry, I usually keep my inner problem child well in hand, and well away from high explosives.
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Wock
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Tue Feb 12, 2008 11:09 pm Post

Ahhh it's never to late to have a happy childhood!

Portland? Eh? I could ahe sworn my mapquest said I was a lot further south. :-)

I live in Hurricane central, always having to duck those monstrosities though around these parts we never get really worked up and tape the windows unless it is a category 3 or higher.

Portland is a myth in actuality. It was designed to confuse our European friends into thinking we had a secret Shangri la hidden in the US of A.

Don't let them fool ya I say! That far north they have to be Canadian!

(anything above the Mason Dixon line is too far North :-) )
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Jaysen
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Tue Feb 12, 2008 11:22 pm Post

Wock wrote:(anything above the Mason Dixon line is too far North :-) )
:twisted:

Careful. My northern relocated southern axx might take offense to that. There are some of us up here that still remember the way people are supposed to sound and the way food is supposed to taste (and not finding anything up here remotely the way the good Lord intended it). It won't take much to push us over the edge. How many vic-k do we need around here?
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Siren
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Wed Feb 13, 2008 12:34 am Post

Radish wrote:My own Muse is kind of imperative and naggy and all bossy-like.

My Muse has gone AWOL, fleeing the scene of action in a shocking display of cowardice. When he/she gets back, I am going to shoot him/her as a deserter. Pour encourager les autres. Mind you... if I shoot my Muse, and your Muses all pull up their socks and behave themselves as a result, then I don't exactly get much out of the deal beyond the dubious and short-lived satisfaction of a show of rough justice. Maybe what I want is for one of you to shoot your Muse, which will put the fear of the proverbial up my Muse, who will then come trotting back to do his/her duty. That's a better plan, I think. Any volunteers?