Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Eat Dessert First

Today is National Dessert Day. So here are some pumpkin spice blondie bars made from the recipe on the back of the Toll House pumpkin morsels package. I added a little cinnamon to the mix just for fun.

Thinking about desserts reminds me of that saying, “Life’s short, eat dessert first.”And that reminds me of the project I’m currently working on. I usually write a story, whether a short story or a novel, from beginning to end. I know who the killer is before I start writing, but I generally don’t know what that confrontation scene between my sleuth and the murderer is going to look like, where it’s going to take place or what’s actually going to happen until I’ve written at least half of the book.

But this time around I’m working differently. I’ve found myself visualizing scenes and writing the story completely out of order. That confrontation scene popped into my head one day when I’d barely written the first couple chapters of the book so I wrote the first draft as soon as it entered my mind. I’ve done that with several other scenes since then. I’m gradually building up the story this way, hopping around as things come to me. This is very out of character for me.

This reminds me of a post fellow Type-Mer, Frankie Bailey, wrote awhile back about working intuitively, going with what is flowing at the moment. http://www.typem4murder.blogspot.com/2015/04/working-intuitively.html.

I think there’s something to it, this working intuitively. I'm gradually building up this story with less angst than usual. At some point, probably after I’ve finished some other pressing tasks for my second book, Paint the Town Dead, that’s coming out December 8, I’ll go back to writing scenes from start to finish but, for now, I’m content with working this way. At least I feel like I’m making progress instead of staring at a blank document with no idea what to type.

Now I’m curious. How many people write a book or short story from beginning to end or do you “eat dessert first”, writing scenes out of order? For those who’ve written several books, do you change the way you write from project to project?

5 comments:

Cynthia Kuhn said...

How cool that you are experimenting with different methods. And those treats you baked look amazing.

I tend to write scenes in what I think is the order, then when I'm revising, I often move them around...

Tiffany Yates Martin said...

Interesting...and a little scary! I've written some scenes out of order before, when they really clamor for it, but I always feel more grounded going basically in order. Partly because I'm a "pantser"--and I rarely know how things will happen till I get there. I do come up with ideas, snippets, etc., while I'm writing that I keep in a file and harvest when I get to that point. I'll be interested to hear how this comes together for you, Sybil.

And I keep trying, but I will never understand the appeal of pumpkin-flavored everything. :) Now, sub those pumpkin chips for butterscotch and we're talking...

Sybil Johnson said...

Ah, Tiffany, I am a real fan of pumpkin flavored items, though not all of them. I do love butterscotch, too.

I'm trying this new method, partly because some scenes are just clamoring to be written, and partly because I have too many other things to do for the release of the second book to make me focused enough to dig into the third book. This way at least I get something done!

Yes, Cynthia, they were really good. Too good. Ate too many.

Kait said...

I usually write from first chapter to last, but since I've been using Scrivener, I have been writing more intuitively as the scenes appear. Even if I don't use them, they often clarify the plot.

Sybil Johnson said...

Interesting about the change after using Srivener. I've heard of it, but haven't tried it.