Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Crooked Path

I am usually a very linear writer.  I’m not an outliner or a plotter so to speak, but I do have a very definitive plan for each of my manuscripts. I start at chapter one and power through the scenes in a perfectly chronological fashion.  Sometimes that means I spend days getting that one chapter perfect, other times it means I sail through four or five chapters before hitting a stumbling block.

As you now I am excitedly powering through a new YA contemporary manuscript of mine.  I didn't hit a wall so to speak, more like a giant, granite boulder that is refusing to budge.  I can walk around it, probably even scale it, but it is going to take some time.  Problem is, behind that boulder is perfectly flat, smooth writing terrain.   I was thinking about breaking rank and moving on.  For the sake of momentum, I am leaving that chapter behind and starting the next.  I will write through to the end with the intention of circling back to annoying chapter in a few weeks. Perhaps by then, I will have figured out the best way to rid my landscape of the giant rock.

What do you think -- good idea or bad?  Do you ever write outof order in the hopes that the solution to that troublesome scene will unveil itself with some time and distance?




17 comments:

  1. I just stumbled over a boulder the other day, too. I slept on it, and consulted a few people, and then the solution finally presented itself yesterday. Luckily, the boulder was holding back the next scene that I hadn't gotten to yet.

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    1. Glad to hear your boulder disappeared and that you were able to mve on. Would love to hear what your Muse is working on.

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  2. Go around the boulder. Perhaps the elements will wear it down by the time you come back to it ;)

    I'm with you though. I start at the beginning of a MS and write to the end. I have to do this because I'm a total panster and have no idea what's going to happen. :)

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  3. Thanks for the words of encouragement. I am moving around it. If the boulder is still there in a few weeks, then I bring in some heavy equipment (aka really amazing CP's) to help me figure out a way to move it.

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  4. Definitely go around.

    Sometimes I just jot down a few sentences in a chapter so I know what I think should happen there, then I go on. When I come back and edit, I know my characters better and can usually figure out exactly what needs to go in that spot.

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    1. I can going to do that -- jot down a few lines of where I think the chapter needs to be so I don't forget something important when I come back to it. If all else fails, you, my amazing CP, can take a stab at it :)

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  5. I'm not a super planner, but the more manuscripts I write, the more I'm able to look at something bugging me and understand that it's something I can come back and work it out later. In fact, I now find that if I *let* it, a speed bump can make getting the rest of the story down virtually impossible, so I've adopted a policy that if a scene or issue makes me stop writing more than once, I skip it. Janni Lee Simner and I have a running thing about when we're digressing in writing, we say FLY THE PLANE MADDIE (from Code Name Verity) and plow on with our writing. It's become my mantra, that line.

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    1. Well chosen line from a truly amazing book. It is nice to know that I am not the only one who has to veer off course a time or two during the writing process. I guess all that matters is that it comes together in the end.

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  6. Absolutely! Circle back and nuke that sucker later. I'm all for chapter skipping. :) Good luck!

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    1. ahh . . surprisingly there are no weapons involved at all in this book. Odd coming from me, but true.

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  7. It sounds like a great idea! Usually when I'm on a second or third draft, I start to rewrite scenes out of order, just for better perspective. :) Good luck!

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    1. You make a good point. I too revise out of order, but I have never applied that same principle to my first drafts. Huh . . go figure.

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  8. If it helps you to go around the boulder - GO AROUND! Keep the momentum going. I can't write out of order (though one of my Contemp CPs does that all the time), but I can also spend three weeks working out a chapter before I move on. Do what works best for you, and good luck. :-)

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    1. Thanks for the words of encouragement, Lexa.

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  9. Yep, I'm with everyone else. Go round that boulder. Embrace the smooth terrain on the other side. :-)

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    1. Screw that boulder; I can already see it in my rear-view mirror!

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