Note: This post is part of a series about advice for writers. All of my advice is based on my experiences, and is offered freely in the hopes that other writers will get something out of it as well. I highly encourage discussion; tell me your ideas, challenges, and suggestions in the comments!
4. Write out of order
This is a tough one for many people. I hear lots of my writer friends insist that they MUST write in chronological order or else they can’t write. These same people are often stuck in one spot and cannot move forward. While some people do suffer from debilitating OCD and other mental health issues that can create barriers like this, not everyone who gets stuck has these challenges.
When you find yourself in this place, try appeasing the desire for chronology by writing a synopsis of what you WANT to see happening in that scene. When you reach the end of the scene, you can move on in the story. You are going to have to go back later when you edit–every writer does, or should–so you’ll be filling in the gap with a temporary bridge until you can return to fix it. This bridge can connect your thoughts between what you’ve written and what you want to get to.
If chronology isn’t vital to you, then write the scenes that are in your head now. As I have been going through this Nanowrimo session, I have jumped around from place to place. I tend to stay in one scene each night, but I don’t know where I’ll begin each time I sit down. In fact, working in order would actually have caused me to miss out on an opportunity for some character development. In my story, I wrote a scene that changed my perception of a side character, so I was able to go back to fill in the bridge with something better and richer than my original plan.
There’s an addendum to this rule that we’ll talk about tomorrow.
Next post: About Writing: Don’t Strive for Perfection