Writers’ Week–Day 3: Order from Chaos

JRR Tolkien wrote The Lord of the Rings from the beginning with every draft.  If he got hung up or fell out of writing, he always went back to the very beginning and started again.  He never jumped ahead, he always went perfectly in order, each time, without fail.

I can’t do that.I really have tried to write from the beginning to the end.  I even came close to doing that with Dual Identities.  Usually, I write what interests me.  If one day, I write the beginning, the next day I might write the end, and the day after that write the middle.  I write what I want to write when I want to write it.

Yes, this leaves the things I am least interested in until the very end, but by that point, I know the characters and the momentum of the story well enough to make any slow parts be minor beats in the story.  My thought is, if I’m more invested in a scene, enough where I’ll write the story out of order, when the reader reads it all in order, each scene will be stronger for my efforts.

So, I’m still working on my entry for Emily Suess’ Writers’ Week.  “The Other Identity” is coming together well, mainly because I finally wrote out what I call the road map for the story.  This is my secret.  The road map gives me some of the structure an outline does, but without any of the small details.  It’s open enough where I always know what’s going on in the story and where it’s all going.  The gaps in the road map can be filled in at any point, so long as I feel a scene fits in the story.

For a novel, the road map would be a separate file listing file names for each day’s writing along with a short descriptor.  For a short story like “The Other Identity,” I’ll just put the road map in the same file, filling in each scene accordingly.

And, for the record, I’ve still got about 60% of the story to write, but I’ve already written the opening scene and the closing scene.  Now I just need the middle to make it all work.

(Catch up with Day 1 and Day 2 of Writers’ Week with the links!)


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