Writing Scene by Scene

Hey, I have a question for you novelists out there. Do you write your books scene-by-scene, in order, or do you jump around? I don’t seem to be able to jump around. I’ll have scenes in my mind that I know I will eventually get to, but I don’t write them until the story has progressed to them. A few times I’ve sat down to write a future scene because I’m stuck where I’m at, but then I find myself trudging through the muck of “the present.” On a few occasions I have written those future scenes, but by the time the story progresses to them, they no longer work.

What do other writers do?

2 thoughts on “Writing Scene by Scene

  1. Elizabeth,
    I find it easier to write the scenes scattered. When I have a good thought, I like to go with it. I also keep an outline of where I want the story to go; a written plot outline. This helps me keep my ideas organized while still sporadically thrown. Writing like this can be more work, however, because if you decide to change something in a beginning scene, you also need to change it to be the same in the rest of the scenes. This can bring up a problem or two, but that’s what editors are for, right?

  2. My writing process tends to start out with writing the first few chapters off the top of my head, then sitting down to map out the plot in detail and come up with the detailed innards of my characters. Then I go back to those first few chapters and fix them up and then continue onward. Sometimes I write a scene that is far in advance, but usually, by the time I get to it, the plot has changed significantly enough that I have to rework the scene anyway. That being said, I don’t let this keep me from “writing ahead”. I think it’s important to know generally where you want to go and generally what you want to get across in each scene, and every time I have to rework a later scene I always end up keeping some of it, and I feel like it’s better to go ahead and write drafts of important scenes before you get to them, because that way when you do get to them you’re already on the second draft for those scenes while you’re still on the first draft for the rest of the novel. I hope I made sense and wasn’t too confusing.

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