This week’s QoTW comes from Anthony, who asked: “When starting a new project, do you tend to write the entire novel from beginning to end?”
When I start a new novel I write linearly. I get to know more of the character as I write on. If I don’t write from beginning to the end but instead jump from one scene to another, I feel like I’m writing about one person in one stage of their life, then jumping to another stage in their life without knowing how they developed in between the jump. I feel detached from them then. Have I lost you yet? I need to go in order. I need to grow with my characters. Also, if I weren’t to follow the linear method I’d end up writing all my favorite scenes, and I’d have no incentive to write the linking scenes that I’m not fond of but need.
I definitely write in a linear way, but that doesn’t mean I won’t go
back in a second (or third, or fourth) draft and add scenes in. I’ve
even been known to add entire characters into a later draft. It’s
funny, though, how often I wind up cutting those “extra” scenes during
editing. I do a lot of pre-writing, so by the time I get to my rough
draft, I usually have a pretty good idea of the story I want to tell
and how I want to tell it. Getting to finally write a scene I’ve been
planning in my head for weeks or months is a great incentive to
get me through the sections that are a bit of a slog.
Since, this is my first novel, I have been trying to write linearly. I write mostly from beginning to end and then onto the next scene. However, sometimes a scene may grab me so I write that in a separate document or my writing notebook. Sometimes, those scenes do not even make it into the story, but to me they are just as useful.
I usually write whatever scenes stick out the strongest for me, then find a way to link them together. I like to write endings early on so I know where my destination is, and then try to relax and enjoy the journey to get there.
I agree with what Rachel said above me, though… it’s good to write experimental scenes, even if they don’t make it into the book. You can learn a lot about your characters by watching them do stuff you wouldn’t want your audience to know about.
Thanks so much for your question Anthony!
Audience, how do YOU write?