Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Should You Write In Chronological Order?

No. 

Next question? There’s a box to the right where you can ask me anything…

Okay, I’ll elaborate on this one. Getting to the end of a novel can be an impossible task, so why give yourself more hurdles than needed?

If you can write from start to finish and it works for you, then congrates – you’ve found your style! If not, then you are far more likely to get to the end if you write the sections you’re excited about.

Write the best bits first, where ‘best’ means the bits you are passionate about. Follow, kindle, develop your ideas and get into the flow of the scene until that section feels done and you don’t know where to go. These are the sections that come flowing out, right?

Those lulls between the action scenes still need to be thrilling, which may seem like an impossible task at first. This is probably because you’re not fussed about these scenes yet. You’re not entirely sure what needs to happen. But you will.

I know many individuals write chronologically so they can get their next chapter up online. Motivation like that can be very useful, but intrinsic motivation is far stronger - and that goes for everything you do in life. If your writing because it makes you happy, you're more likely to keep doing it.

I tend to not know the chronological order of all my events at first. I know lots will happen, and I know the scenes context, but not the exact placement of each moment. And when I’m deciding on order, I know what action happens where so I can avoid long stretches without much going on. Tweaks can be made later to make sure they’re context consistent.

And once you've reached the end, edit chronologically. Start from beginning to end and make sure ideas are built on, characters develop, and style choices that are made in earlier chapters are consistent in later ones. The only way you’ll know if your ideas and concepts make sense to your readers is if you read it like one.

But writing in order? If you’re forcing yourself to go from start to finish, then your writing will read like it. Isn't it more fun to write about what you want?