Writing a Novel, Do You Write in Order?

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Marc64
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Fri May 15, 2020 1:58 pm Post

A question for all the novel writers here*.

I've been plotting my novel and I now have all my scenes mapped out. One think that occurred to me was that I had a clearer idea how some scenes will play out than others and then I remembered that, when they make movies, it's actually rare for them to film scenes in order. So I was curious, do any novelists write in a similar way or do you all start writing at the beginning of the story and just keep going until the End?

Obviously I'm not talking about reordering scenes after they've been written, thinking more at the first draft stage if that makes sense.

*I know it can apply to other forms of writing but I'm talking specifically about novels in this instance.
Thanks in advance for your patience with this non- techie user

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Ah
Ahab
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Sat May 16, 2020 10:18 am Post

For me, the main strength of Scrivener is its ease in writing out of sequence. In the formative stage of a novel, you don't really even know what the sequence is. There's a chronology, of course, but that isn't always the right sequence of presentation.
Scenes, and research, have a way of triggering other scenes that you might not have thought of. Scenes that seemed crucial in the outlining stage often become irrelevant when you later write a scene that compresses four previous scenes into one.
I tend to write the opening first, writing and rewriting until it more or less says what I want to say. Then I write the ending. All the stuff in between tends to get written as it occurs to me, the whole coming together in little snippets that get joined together or split apart or moved far away or consolidated, all in an effort to bridge that unknown gulf between Once Upon a Time and The End,

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Marc64
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Mon May 18, 2020 4:18 pm Post

Ahab wrote:For me, the main strength of Scrivener is its ease in writing out of sequence. In the formative stage of a novel, you don't really even know what the sequence is. There's a chronology, of course, but that isn't always the right sequence of presentation.
Scenes, and research, have a way of triggering other scenes that you might not have thought of. Scenes that seemed crucial in the outlining stage often become irrelevant when you later write a scene that compresses four previous scenes into one.
I tend to write the opening first, writing and rewriting until it more or less says what I want to say. Then I write the ending. All the stuff in between tends to get written as it occurs to me, the whole coming together in little snippets that get joined together or split apart or moved far away or consolidated, all in an effort to bridge that unknown gulf between Once Upon a Time and The End,


Thanks for your excellent reply.

Having outlined my novel and written the first draft for a number of scenes, I've just rewritten the first chapter for the third time based on the drafts for the later scenes and I have to say, it's the first time I've been happy with that chapter.

That's not to say hat it won't get rewritten again, it is after all still a first draft.
Thanks in advance for your patience with this non- techie user

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auxbuss
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Wed May 20, 2020 2:57 pm Post

Ahab's post reminded me of this from Nabokov:
How do you write? What are your methods?

I find now that index cards are really the best kind of paper that I can use for the purpose. I don’t write consecutively from the beginning to the next chapter and so on to the end. I just fill in the gaps of the picture, of this jigsaw puzzle which is quite clear in my mind, picking out a piece here and a piece there and filling out part of the sky and part of the landscape and part of the – I don’t know, the carousing hunters.
ImageImage

Ah
Ahab
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Wed May 20, 2020 4:16 pm Post

auxbuss wrote:Ahab's post reminded me of this from Nabokov:
How do you write? What are your methods?

I find now that index cards are really the best kind of paper that I can use for the purpose. I don’t write consecutively from the beginning to the next chapter and so on to the end. I just fill in the gaps of the picture, of this jigsaw puzzle which is quite clear in my mind, picking out a piece here and a piece there and filling out part of the sky and part of the landscape and part of the – I don’t know, the carousing hunters.


And don't forget famous index-card fancier Hilary Mantel, herein excerpted by some guy named Keith Somethingorother.
https://www.literatureandlatte.com/blog ... ner-part-2

Linear writing produces linear books. If that's what you're after . . .

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auxbuss
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Wed May 20, 2020 6:05 pm Post

Oh, thanks for that. I'd never seen it before. Learning to forego structure until the last minute was a lesson I learned the hard way. And if it hadn't been for Scrivener allowing me to tear down and rebuild the whole thing, I might have given up.

Ahab wrote:Linear writing produces linear books. If that's what you're after . . .

So many books...
ImageImage

Tw
Twolane
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Thu May 21, 2020 1:31 pm Post

Linear writing produces linear books. If that's what you're after . . .


I'll take the cash any way I can write to get it, thank you very much, linear or any other way the buyer wants to send it to me. :D

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Fri May 22, 2020 9:29 pm Post

uhmmm
im not really good about writings, i mean i feel im not writer yet ><

but i have been writing my story and its a fiction story in the right way or at least thats what have learn from YouTube videos, anyway my opinion my not be perfect but could help/inspire

so my process now is writing all the story the way i see it as keywords/titles/points/scenes in order, but sometime i had idea to twist things or to help me build a better story or events, so i write it down just not to forget it and mark it with something to remind me where is going to fit and why, this might be like in the start or middle or end of what im writing.

i have many question about alot of things myself, but i wont learn anything unless i go through it, and what im struggling with lately is writer block but i know it normal and i have to be patient about it and what im doing actually going to minimize this struggle in the future on the actual writing i guess .


*sorry about my weak english
Alex.
Disasters sometimes could lead to something beautiful at the end.

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Marc64
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Sat May 23, 2020 4:40 am Post

Exan wrote:uhmmm
im not really good about writings, i mean i feel im not writer yet ><

but i have been writing my story and its a fiction story in the right way or at least thats what have learn from YouTube videos, anyway my opinion my not be perfect but could help/inspire

so my process now is writing all the story the way i see it as keywords/titles/points/scenes in order, but sometime i had idea to twist things or to help me build a better story or events, so i write it down just not to forget it and mark it with something to remind me where is going to fit and why, this might be like in the start or middle or end of what im writing.

i have many question about alot of things myself, but i wont learn anything unless i go through it, and what im struggling with lately is writer block but i know it normal and i have to be patient about it and what im doing actually going to minimize this struggle in the future on the actual writing i guess .


*sorry about my weak english
Alex.


Your experience seems similar to mine. I've plotted out my novel and separated it into scenes with a brief description of each using the corkboard, I shall see if everything stays in that order.
Thanks in advance for your patience with this non- techie user

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Mac OSX Catalina 10.15.5
Blog: https://marcfalber.co.uk/

mb
mbbntu
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Sat May 23, 2020 10:14 am Post

I'm not sure it matters how you do things. What matters is the end result. Dickens must have started The Pickwick Papers without the faintest idea of how things were going to proceed because he was supposed to be writing a text to accompany illustrations that were to be made by someone else. And the work was to be published in weekly instalments. So the work is very episodic and doesn't really have much of a plot arc over the whole novel. I guess the work is still read and enjoyed all these years later because the characters and the descriptions are so vivid. Mr Jingle is a classic. Other stories depend very much on the plot and how it unfolds. I suppose writers like Agatha Christie couldn't really afford to get the clues in the wrong order or the whole structure of the work would fall apart. Though other writers are happy to play with this sort of convention by having the "revelation" at the beginning instead of the end. So I doubt that it matters. Writing is a craft, and it takes time to learn. Some people seem to learn it by imitating other writers, while some seem to strike out on their own from the beginning and learn from their own experiments. And to me it seems self-evident that what works for one person may not work for another.

Best of luck with it!
You should judge people not by how close they get to the top, but by how far they have come from the bottom. Some people have a mountain to climb just to get to the place where others start out. (Me, 2010)