Monday, June 7, 2010

Sequence

As you can see, I changed my layout again. I know I have a problem, but what can I say? I do really like this one, though, so I might keep it for a while... :-)

Over the weekend, E and I made significant progress on our LOST binging. As of today, we're on episode 8 of season 5. As those who've watched know, a lot has happened.

But this post isn't about that!

One of the techniques that the LOST creators employ to add suspense is presenting events out of sequence. It's effective in visual form, and it's something that we writers use often to present information when we want the reader to experience it, usually via flashbacks or maybe dream sequences that turn out to be the future, etc.

But my real question about sequence is this:

Do you write your novel out sequence? For instance, does the idea come to you in a vision of one scene, and with that scene you start writing and branch forward and backward as the plot unveils? Or do you figure out your entire plot, then start at the beginning and work your way towards that epiphanous scene?

Personally, it boggles my brain to try and write out of sequence. I can do it if I absolutely have to (like a most severe case of writer's block), but if I have my druthers, I like to write sequentially. From what I've seen/read/heard, a lot of writers skip around and weave their scenes together later. Again, mind-boggling for me.


So, just curious: do you write in sequence, or do you bounce all over the continuum? 


PS: Sigo is doing really well! She's putting on weight and responding well to the antibiotic treatment I'm giving her. Hoping to have all her feline leukemia and FIV tests done this week. :-) 

28 comments:

Christine Danek said...

Kitty is so cute. I had a hard time writing out of sequence but when I got writers block it helped to write scenes that were out of sequence. Does that even make sense? I didn't think it would help but it did. At least for me.
Good luck! Like the new background. :)

Renae said...

Love the new layout.

In answer to your question...yes, I do sometimes write out of sequence. An idea may pop into my head for a certain scene and sticks until I write it.

I try not to do that because it makes me crazy, but there are times when I can't help it.

WELCOME TO MY WORLD OF POETRY: said...

As I don't write boooks I don't have a problem, I write my poetry if and when the mood takes me. Love the cat, very cute.

Have a nice day,
Yvonne,

Christi Goddard said...

I can't write out of sequence. I know everything that has to happen, and if I get stuck I just sit there. I know once I get over a bump I'll be good since I KNOW what's going on, but sometimes I can't get myself to jump the bump of a short scene that's stuck.

Tiffany Neal said...

Hey there. Long time no see. Or, long time no comment-on-your-blog! :)

I totally wrote out of sequence for my 1st book because certain scenes came to me before others and well, because I didn't have a clue what I was doing. It really caused me to get into a bit of a bind when I did that.

Now I only write in order. If a scene really comes to me and it is out of order, I'll write a little bit of it, but I don't spend much time on it editing and revising it because of the inconsistencies that will usually follow it.

Kitty is super cute!

Piedmont Writer said...

I tend to write forward until I get stuck, then I bounce around. Believe it or not I usually write the ending when I've hit chapter 10, that way I know what I've got to do to get there.

Amie McCracken said...

I bounce around. I absolutely cannot write if I'm forced to write sequentially. My brain shrivels and my fingers cramp.

~Nicole Ducleroir~ said...

Your new layout is pretty! I don't write out of sequence...yet. I do outline out of sequence. In fact, I never start with a beginning idea and outline forward. It's usually a climactic moment that comes to me first, and I have to create the path that leads to it.

So far, I'm writing the first draft in sequence, but that's not to say that I wouldn't feel the urge one day to write the ending, just 'cause I'm in the right mood. I can see that happening.

Sigo is beautiful!

Charity Bradford said...

That's a funny question actually. I think I'm writing in sequence, but when I start revisions I often rearrange the events until I find the right home for everything.

Aubrie said...

I'm so glad you're liking Lost! I have a beginning and an ending in mind, but then I jump around in the middle!

KLM said...

I think the out-of-sequence narrative can be kind of gimmicky. I'm not a "Lost" watcher myself but when I've read it described, it seems the way that story gets told is more interesting than the story itself.

I love it when it's done well -- like in "The Usual Suspects" -- but get annoyed when I finally get to the bottom of a story only to feel kind of jerked around: "Oh, is that all it was" is definitely not a conclusion you want watchers/readers to come to!

Jen said...

Yay for Sigo! Glad to see all is well!

I've written parts of the story out of sequence but they are really more of ideas than actual starting to write the story out. When I start to write I like from beginning to end, no matter how many holes or skips I may end up with, I can always go back and fill in later!

My stories are held in my head so it's not like the info goes anywhere, lol.

Great background Summer!!! This one is super cute! I'm always trying to find one that is fitting and nice, I think I'm okay with mine for now, but I never know!

Old Kitty said...

Is Sigo yours now?? Are you keeping her cos she's adorable and so lovely!!!!!! We love Sigo, yes we do!!

Gosh - writing in sequence.... I've not really thought of that. I guess I do - but my thought processes kind of jumps around, like I know how to start and how to end and I want this to happen and that... but once I start to write, I need to start from the beginning otherwise I'd get lost!

:-) Hope that makes sense!

Yay for Sigo!!

Take care
x

Old Kitty said...

p.s. I LOVE your new layout for your blog - very, very pretty!
x

Crystal Cook said...

I'm so glad Sigo is doing well! He's such a cutie, he is a 'he' right?

I can not write out of sequence, just like you, I can't wrap my ditzy little head around it. I get all confused.

That being said, sometimes if I'm really stuck, I will write the ending out. But that's all.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I write in sequence. Like you, it would confuse me to do otherwise.

Simon C. Larter said...

Now and then I write out of sequence with short stories. I know how it's going to end, but not how to get there, so I write the end, then fill in the middle later. Not sure if this'll work for the novel, but it may. Sometimes we just have to write the scenes we're inspired to write, and come back to the bridging/transition ones later, yeah?

kanishk said...

I'm so glad you're liking Lost!


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Amanda J. said...

First, I love LOST and am very sad it's over. Glad you're liking it. :)

Second, that cat is freaking adorable and I hope she keeps getting better.

Now then, I write sequentially. I'm with you, I don't know how other people just jump around from scene to scene and then sew the pieces together. It seems like a nightmare to me.

Kimberly Franklin said...

Such a great question. I tend to write in order because, truthfully, that's hard enough, sometimes. :)

Talli Roland said...

What a cute kitty! Love the new layout, by the way.

I write in sequence. It's just the way my mind works!

Courtney Barr - The Southern Princess said...

Love the layout and knowing you I am not at all surprised that you swap them in and out! ;o)

Um sequence - I go start to...well whenever it stops for a bit...then re-read and see if the flow is working. I may work out of sequence but not too often. ;o) Love the pic - glad he seems to be doing better!

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Lola Sharp said...

Love the new bloggy crib, yo. Pretty.

Yeah, I'm with you. I prefer to write sequentially. Sometimes when I get stuck, I'll skip some middle stuff and write the last couple of chapters (since I don't outline, this sometimes helps me know where I'm going).

Though last year I wrote a novel that flipped back and forth to a "Then' and 'Now' ...but I wrote those two story lines sequentially.

Kitty is looking adorable. :)

J. Kaye said...

I **try** to write in sequence. Sometimes that doesn't work...and you know my belief. Keep moving forward no matter what. ;)

DL Hammons said...

I write just like it's read...in sequence. But I'm also an outliner, so it's laid out for me that way. I don't outline in sequence.

Guinevere said...

I love the new blog design! So cute.

I can't write out of sequence. My story has to move forward chronologically. However... I do write the occasional scene that comes to me early. I save it in an "excerpts" file and add it in, tweaking it to fit where it takes place in the story, when I get to the right place for that scene. Or, I toss it. That happens a lot too.

Palindrome said...

How did I miss this post??

Anywho, I'm pretty much a linear writer. I write in the way I think the story should go but I'm sure I will move things around during the editing process. The first part I write though is usually not the "beginning". I like to start out with action, a little Tarantino scene.

"And then I shot him in the face..." Ga-wuh?!

That's the kind of reaction I want when people read the first chapter.

Wings said...

Good question, and yes sometimes I do.

I write scenes out of sequence sometimes. On occasion a whole chapter if it comes to me. But I try to write from start tofinish.

there is one WIP that i just cannot get started but I have a whole bunch of scenes for.

Its based around current personal experience, so I'm kind of living certain scenes that I need to write down while the memories and dialogue is still fresh. Yet they won't be used until very late in the book.

It isn't hard for me to write out of sequence, but it is difficult to then work all the scenes and chapters in together without unwanted repetition or jolts.

I try to write in sequence as much as possible.