Sunday, November 7, 2010

Walking a Straight Line

So last week I talked about being stuck and muscling through Chapter 6 and a little bit of Chapter 7. I told a friend, who has written four books, about this on Saturday, and she asked why didn't I just go to the next scene and come back to it.

Here's the thing. I'm a very linear writer, which is probably to my detriment. I have a hard time writing out of order. I'm not sure why. I've tried jumping ahead to other chapters, but it just doesn't feel right. It's like I want to progress with my characters at the same time as them. I'd make a horrible actor or director.

How about you? Do you jump from scene to scene or write linear and why?

20 comments:

Ellie said...

I'm the same, Patti. I can only write in a straight line. If I try to write out of order there is a constant voice nagging me about the unfinished/unwritten scenes and I can't shut it up!

Andrea Mack said...

I usually stay linear. For me, changes in the earlier part will usually affect what comes in the later part. So I need to get the earlier part right first.

Anne Gallagher said...

I generally write linearly (is that a word) until I hit the climax. Then I write the ending. Then I let things stew and go back and write from the climax to the end. I don't know why. I guess I need to see how it ends first.

Laura Pauling said...

I write from start to end. But I will leave a chapter and keep going if I'm stuck b/c usually the answer comes when I'm not thinking about it. Unless that chapter affects the entire plot then I won't go forward b/c what if things change?

Colene Murphy said...

No, I'm with you. I have to write from start to finish. When I start I may have a scene or two done or at least thought of but after I get going I can't write out of order.

lotusgirl said...

I have a writer friend (I think you know who I mean) who insists that linear writing is the best way to write. You have good company.

Holly Ruggiero said...

I tend to write in order, but every now and then a scene will pop into my head and I will need to get it out first.

Carolyn V. said...

I love to jump from scene to scene, but it does make it hard for the revision process.

Paul Greci said...

I also go from beginning to end. Occassionally I'll leave a scene partly written with some notes on what else should happen if I realize I need to do some research or am stuck but usually I power through it.

Susan R. Mills said...

I'm a linear writer, but like I've mentioned, sometimes I'll throw a scene together in a so-so fashion and then come back to it later to spruce it up. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn't.

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

I'm like that. I can't jump around... it would make me crazy!

Heidi Willis said...

I am so linear!! I feel the same... I have to take the journey with the characters. I have written a few scenes out of timeline when they've come to me suddenly and I needed to get them down, but that's fairly rare. And when it happens, I always end up having to rewrite it later.

Robyn Campbell said...

I'm linear too, Patti, but I have decided to try and write some middle scenes out of my WIP, just to see how it goes.

I think the reason I'm linear is because I love order. DANG IT! :)

Amy DeTrempe said...

I've skipped scenes and moved on when I get stuck. Later I usually know exactly what to put in the blank spot. But, I am a panster and tend to be all over the place.

Melissa said...

I'm with you. I've been stuck many times in my WIP and my CPs all told me to go to another scene. I could not do it.

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

You're the Yin to my Yang. I hardly ever write linear. The chaos theory works wonders for me.

Jill Kemerer said...

Linear. Definitely. I run into the same problem as you. For me, it's usually because my reason for the scene isn't clear. If I brainstorm and write down why the scene is happening, it usually unblocks me. Usually!!

Jessica Hill said...

I'm completely a non-linear writer. I used to try to write linear, and I would get stuck. I always had a difficult time flowing into the next scene, or picking up where I'd left off the previous session.

I'm constantly thinking about different scenes at different points in the story. I don't ever think in a linear fashion, so why try to force myself to write in one?

Now, when I'm stuck in a scene or I just can't find "it" on the scene I'm working on, I jump somewhere else in the story. It's made a world of difference for me.

Jolene Perry said...

I would suffocate, wither and not be able to write if I had to write from beginning to end. I'm amazed at people who write that way and I try to convert them.

Carrie said...

I would probably be linear. I'm still writing my first manuscript; hope to have the draft completed by the end of this year. I've never edited a full novel before and am a bit lost to know even where to begin.

Carrie :)