marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

front to back

I started writing longhand because of a book.  I had always done my outlines longhand, but I was working through writing exercises (Ursula K. LeGuin's Steering the Craft) and my big problem was devising incidents to use in them.

So I started to use my outlines for inspiration.  And then I saved the exercises because after all I had written the scene and there was always revision.  And then I said Hey I can keep on doing this and get more stories written and fewer outlines so there are fewer unwritten outlines hanging about.  (It did help.)

But I had written the scenes randomly according to the usefulness to the exercise and I stuck to that for a while, and it turned out that produced a random jumble of scenes and was awkward when I needed a new one to work on and sometimes I did a scene more than once.  So I started writing from the beginning.

I always did that on the computer, or even before that, on the typewriter.  Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end: then stop.  (Story scenes, not story time.  I jump from one time to the next easily.  Too easily -- reorienting the reader to let him know how much time passed has always been a problem of mine.)

It does mean that a scene can bog you down, but then, later scenes will build on that one, so it works better.  Assuming, of course, that you don't realize that you can omit it as trivial, but quite important scenes can bog you down.
Tags: how-to-write books, persistance, story time, writing, writing by hand

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