Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Begin With The End

Whre the magic happens...sometimes.

Before I write a scene, I let it stew in my mind for a few days, choosing which parts to keep and which bits to throw away. For me, nothing is more exciting than opening up the laptop to make that moment exist somewhere other than inside my head.

After the first paragraph, I usually stop and read it over—then I make that face like I'm smelling milk gone bad. I delete everything I just typed, and then I start again.


Before I know it, a half hour has gone by, and my word count is zilch.

It's frustrating. I have the scene in my mind. I know where it's going. I can SEE the finish line, but I can't seem to get started.

I always like to to have a chapter end with a cliffhanger or one of those 'a-ha!' moments. Recently, I changed things up and wrote the last three or four paragraphs of the chapter I was working on.

I discovered that when I focused on the cliffhanger or the 'a-ha!' ending, it gave my writing momentum. Without pausing to edit what I had just written, I jumped to the beginning of the chapter and wrote until I met up with the awesome cliffhanger.

This is how I tackle most of my scenes now, and it has made a huge difference in how much writing I can get done in a short amount of time. And when I hit that word count goal, each chapter ending is a 'yes!' moment for me.

What writing strategies work for you?


Arianna said...

I just go. I just write. I sometimes I have no idea what I'm going to write until I start. Then it just explodes out of me. It's never really good but it happens. It's exciting. I'm not someone who can plan anything so everything just happens for my stories. Like, I have a general idea of what will happen, but that's about it. I know I need to get from point A to point B, but I never plan how to get there.


P.S. I'm SO excited for Busgirl Blues!! Way to hit the 30,000 word mark!!

Laila N Mysis said...

I'm impatient. When I have a scene in mind, I have to have to have to go write it straight away. And then, when it comes out all wrong, I get all frustrated and storm off into the sunset...

... and come back and try again. I don't think I can write backwards. Perhaps I shalt try ^_^

Yolanda Renée said...

I like your thinking and the 'not pausing to edit' is another part of your success. Once it's all down editing comes later. The 'a ha ending' so...important!

Good lessons, ideas and thoughts, thanks for sharing.

Jane Lebak said...

For me there's a pivotal moment in the center of the scene where the emotions all hinge. They either lead up to that and then it goes downhill, or else they lead down to it and things pick up. But once I nail that center point, the scene constructs itself around it.

That and "What would the character be most likely to do next" and "Whom haven't we visited in a while" are pretty invaluable.

BR Myers said...

Thanks for the comments, everyone. I love to get inside writer's heads.

Arianna, I'm excited about busgirl blues, too! Thanks for the support.

Michael Seese said...

I don't do what you describe at the paragraph level. But I *absolutely* do it at the "whole book" level.

For example, I just started a new novel on Saturday, writing about 600 words: the first 400 and the last 200. I have since built upon those last 200; said another way, they are now near the end of the final chapter, but no longer the final sentences. Nonetheless, even though I'm still only 6,000 words in, at least I know where I need to be.

Rebecca Green Gasper said...

What a great idea! I, too, let the scene develop in my mind first, but then I just go for it. I write and don't look at it again until the next day.

writing and living by Richard P Hughes said...

I may have done that a time or two, but I can't be sure. I tend to just start writing with certain objectives in mind, and stay with it till the end.

Stacy Willows said...

At first, I write scraps of the book, figuring all the characters out. Then I actually write from the beginning, then edit.

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