Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Shaking Up Routine

I did something weird last week, as I was finishing the first draft of my next Kate Reilly mystery. And when I say "weird," I mean that to me, it felt as wrong as putting on your pants backwards. But it's something plenty of people do, every day.

(No, not the backwards pants.)

See, I was coming to the end of the story, which, as they often do, includes both an in-car race scene and the climactic discovery/danger scene between Kate and the murderer. The race scene happens before the final confrontation, so I wanted to write it first.

But I was going to be talking with a racing driver three hours later, and I knew our conversation would impact the racing scene I'd write.

Solution? Skip the racing scene for the time being, and move on to the showdown.

Now, for many people, this is no problem. Many writers skip around all the time, writing scenes out of order, tackling ones that feel right or best to them on a given day.

To put it mildly, I don't do that. I don't do that to such an extent that the mere thought of doing it last week nearly gave me the heebie-jeebies.

I tried to explain to my husband why that was—frankly, after he looked at me like something was wrong with me. And after he informed me that was pretty OCD of me. As no doubt many of you are thinking right now.

But I like the story unfolding in order. I am also one for taking my medicine, which means, I'm afraid if I allowed myself to skip around, I'd do all the "fun" or "easy" scenes first (wait, do those exist? different post...) and then have a pile of "hard ones" that I'd never get through.

Seriously? Even contemplating working that way makes my brain hurt. It only makes sense to me to write front to back. And yet ... I managed it last week, and I don't think I blew anything up. Time will tell, I suppose.

Am I the only weird one who writes this way? What do you do?

2 comments:

  1. I often write the ending way early in the process. If I have an idea of how it resolves, I write it early. It's a little weird, but then it helps me figure out the threads that lead to the resolution, and ultimately helps write the middle part. -- Bill Zahren

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  2. I find that process interesting and can see it's probably helpful ... I just think I can't do it! :-)

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