"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." —J. R. R. Tolkien

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Middle, End, Beginnning?

I've read and heard from some authors that they writes certain scenes first - like an important scene in the middle, or the end before actually writing anything else.
As I sit here outlining my WIP, I realized I am not one of these people and most likely never will be.
I see the whole thing serially. I have a detailed outline - don't get me wrong. It's just that details build upon what has already happened, and these details even have special privileges from me:
They are allowed to change what will come in the future. In fact, I give them extra credit when they do this for me. :)
They can add plot points. They can increase a character's importance. They can even go back in time and change what has already happened.

I can see why someone would want to write a scene from somewhere in the middle. Sometimes when I'm outlining, the thoughts just scream out prose to me, and I'll jot a couple notes to capture some of the more brilliant ideas. And it's tempting to keep on writing.

And that's when I force myself back to the outline.


Christine M said...

If a scene from the middle or the end comes to me before I'm ready for it I'll probably write it down so as not to forget it - but whether it gets used in that form or not is another matter entirely!

Jim D said...

I write serially too -- I can't give a convincing arguement against doing it differently -- it's just not how my brain works.

Jim D

HipWriterMama said...

I've often wondered what it would be like to know what the ending will be and then write towards the ending.

I just started a project where I do know the ending, and am trying to figure out the beginning. So this will be a complete reversal for me!

Happy New Year!

Barrie said...

I'm definitely a chronological writer. Otherwise I get confused. :) Happy New Year!

Sara Latta said...

I heard Ernest Gaines (A Lesson Before Dying, The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman) talk about his writing process one time, and he used an analogy I like very much. He said that for him, starting a book is like setting off on a road trip. You know you're going to begin in Chicago and end up in Baltimore, but you don't necessarily what route you're going to take or how you'll get there.