When You Write Out of Order

I have been writing my novel out of order. There I’ve said it. I have been doing this and have absolutely no regrets. I know the story, where it’s going and how it ends. However, the order in which the succession of events comes to mind I have no control over. What I do have control over is whether I will be writing Ch. 20 before I write Ch. 4 and so on. Who says you have to start at the beginning? No one. Nobody’s standing next to you demanding that you write in order. Dude there is no order. Period. As the story scenes and characters carry on their narrative in my head I write these things down in the handy-dandy notebook. I wish I could streamline all of the thoughts from brain to paper/computer (if I had a dime for each time I’ve thought about this).

Generally, this process gives me an automatic opportunity to write the critical parts until I can get to the rest of the parts. They are like markers that guide me in directions that the story should go and others in directions that the story wants to go to. I pay attention to both and I sit afterwards not examining–because I truly want to word vomit all over this before I make any kind of changes–but making an argument for both and then I make the executive decision of what to actually write and what to toss. Thus that is how I ended up writing Ch. 3 before I wrote Ch. 1.

Listen to your writing. If you want to start writing Ch. 20 do it. Don’t stop because you don’t have the previous 19 chapters. I will say that I feel I am able to do this more confidently because I made an outline of each chapter. The next draft I will be more dedicated to tying everything making sure that the flow is there. Now say you started writing something and you don’t have an outline or a chapter in mind for that part you’re working on. Who cares, just keep writing because it will make sense, it will work out as long as you keep writing.

Perhaps, I am giving myself away by the approach I am taking towards writing this particular story. Maybe. Think about that for a bit. If this story is young adult fantasy AND science fiction. Could that be possible? Who says it’s not? Yes, there are key components within each genre that specifically define the story, the plot, the world building, the readers, the marketing–and all those other things I’m not worrying about now because they happen after the fact. But times are changing. Why not push the story to the limit and break that limit. Be undefined. Be real and raw and everything else in between, but love it. Times are certainly changing in YA literature. The real question is are you ready?


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