Monday, March 22, 2010

Mailbag Monday: March 2010

Though we have a lot in common, each member of the Tri Mu has a slightly different take on writing, publishing, books, and life in general. On the fourth Monday of the month, we'll take a question submitted by one of you and each give our opinions on the issue.

This month's question: Do you write your novels in chronological orders, starting with the beginning and writing the first introductory chapters and go along, or do you write in not such a strict order, and maybe go back to write the beginning after you are done with the middle?
Submitted by Stella

NL Berger's Response: I always start out thinking I've begun with the beginning. Invariably, though, as I write along, I come up with a new, better beginning and I go back and add it. (Oh, the joys of being a pantser!) Sometimes that means I cut the beginning I originally wrote, and sometimes it means I just add to it. Also, I tend to skip through the middle of the story, just sketching out a few scenes here and there to get general idea down, in my rush to write through to the climax. I do always make myself go back and flesh out the middle and firm up the beginning before I get to the very end though. I like to actually be done when I get to end. Of course, all that applies only to the first draft. Once I get to revisions, all bets are off...

Darlene C. Goodman's Response: I typically write in chapter order from beginning to end. I have tried skipping around, but I simply can't work up the inspiration to go back and fill in blank areas after I've already moved on. This tendency is really bad during revisions, because that usually means I do a series of complete rewrites from the beginning.

Kalayna Price's Response: I (almost) always start out intending to write in chronological order. I'm a plotter, so this typically works fairly well for most of the book, but occasionally, if I just can't make a scene work, I will skip it and jump ahead. As I'm working on a first draft, unexpected turns tend to crop up so once I get to the second draft, there are always scenes that have to be added between other scenes. So, yes, chronological--and no. ^_^

Tori Pryer's Response: Well, the answer is that I try to write them from beginning to end. By the time that I finish the first draft, I think that I'm done. That I've written all the scenes that I can write and that there are no others to write. Unfortunately, when I read it again, I find that I'm not done. That there are missing pieces. I have two first drafts that I completely re-plotted. Some scenes get to stay. Some scenes go. Some new scenes are written or rather to be written. I've not completed the process yet, but I'm slogging forward with it. I will let you know how it turns out.

Sarah Templeton's Response: 2:30 in the morning is my muse's favorite time to decide a random scene from later in my current WIP must be written. I acquire coffee, and then I write my manuscript out of order. But I don't recommend it. It took me a whole week to get the events from one of my WIP's into the correct timeline. The next time, I won't slap them all down in the same document but instead separate my scenes out into individual segments. (I know, a lot of folks are cringing right now. It was nerve-wracking.) Sometimes, when the muse attacks, I don't even start at the beginning, but I do go back with a narrative summary outline to make sure the random scenes have a place when all's said and done.

Haricot Vert's Response: The way I write depends on the degree of planning beforehand. If I have an outline then I write wherever I feel, and check off the areas of the outline as I go. If I'm feeling my way through the process then I usually write from beginning to end. However, if I'm using that method and I hit a now-what? moment, I have no problem writing (and then this happens but I'm not sure exactly what it is but the characters have to get to x/solve z) and moving on to the next part. In editing, or later in the story, the answer to the parenthetical pause usually comes to me and then I put the solution in another set of parentheses with a link back to the original parentheses.

How do you feel about this? Feel free to add to the discussion in the comments.

Have another question you'd like the Modern Myth Makers to answer? Just ask us in the comments and we'll try to respond in a future month.

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