Writerly Debate #2: To write chronologically or not
When I say, ‘not chronologically,” I don’t mean writing in a disheveled illogical order on purpose and then sending that off to publishing. (I have read stories like that long ago and they were fascinating! Now that takes insane talent.
What I mean by writing chronologically v. not writing chronologically is this: Some people love to write every single scene in order and must write the entire draft of the book that way, without straying. There is nothing wrong with that.
Reasons why people write chronologically:
- It helps with consistency issues.
- It’s more organized.
- It helps characters to know how to react and interact with the past in mind, creating an even flow throughout the story.
- It may make the editing process easier.
All that may be true – but here’s why I don’t:
#1: Writing the “fun” scenes first, (for me those would be the most romantic, emotionally intense scenes. For others, these might be anything exciting – action sequences, etc.) motivates me significantly to keep writing more and more.
#2 If I do not write a scene idea down while it’s in my head, I WILL forget it. So I usually just write it all out and then go back and place it in the right spot later.
#3: Sometimes, if I try to write my story in order, I become very frustrated when I get stuck at a point of the story where I have no idea what is supposed to happen, and that discourages me from writing.
#4 For me, new scenes only come while I’m sitting down and writing for at least an hour. If I sit there and just think about stuff without writing, half the time nothing new will happen and I become frustrated.
#5 Writing out of order, then going back and connecting the scenes in the middle challenges me. I love to be challenged. My writing would not be nearly as good as it is if I did not challenge myself to improve. Sitting down and coming up with the best way to fill in the gaps of my story is hard work, but I feel so much more accomplished. It forces me to use my skills and knowledge, instead of relying on feelings and muses and whims.
Bonus writer’s block tip:
George R.R. Martin once said in an interview that when he gets stuck while writing, he will switch character viewpoints. He has so many characters that this is very useful I am sure. Whether he writes in order or not, I have no idea, (though I assume not, it could be a wrong assumption) but I thought this rather interesting 🙂
Do you write your stories chronologically or not so much? Why? I’d love to hear what you think
Check out some of my other Writerly Debate posts: