Writing Out of Sequence

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The only way I could get back on the EVO Ghost drafting train was to write out of sequence. I’m not a fan of this process because anything I write usually gets cut or requires a LOT LOT LOT of editing. As I don’t plan, I find it hard to know exactly where the narrative is headed, so writing out of sequence is guesswork, and 9 times out of 10 I guess wrong. It’s hard to judge where a character’s head will be at when they arrive at that point in the narrative, and if they’d make the choices I have written into the narrative.

not be able

So, why do it? The answer is simple- because I’m stuck. I’m contemplating a time jump, and when you write in first person present tense that is easier said then done. I need to have certain aspects in my main character’s life in place before the said time jump, so that the tranformation wont be a shock to the reader. It is proving a lot harder than it sounds in theory. My plan is to write out of sequence until I have a brain wave- yep, that’s the extent of my plan. It usually works, so I’m holding out hope.

Are you a plotter or a pantser, and what are your feelings on writing out of sequence? Any time jump advice? All comments welcome…


Content belongs to KJ.Chapman

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11 thoughts on “Writing Out of Sequence

  1. There are so many times I wish I could just jump in time and let people imagine what happened in-between! I don’t think my readers would be happy though. And it would be laziness on my part — there’s no need for it in my story. It would be like JRR Tolkien deciding to knock Bilbo unconscious every time a battle is happening to avoid writing the battle scenes ;P
    Time jumps are always interesting to see, but they work if it’s necessary to the story’s unfolding. I’m curious as to how you’ll deal with it in EVO Ghost!
    I hope that writing out of sequence helps. Sometimes we have to wander off the path to find it again πŸ™‚
    Good luck ❀

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  2. It’s your story and you can tell it however you like, but I feel that a consequence stemming from a time jump is that your audience not only has to now settle in to the new time frame and accept the changes that occurred within the missing time, but the audience is also robbed of the journey (and character development) that took place. A couple of great examples I can give you are the movies Fantastic Four (2015 film) and, more recently, Batman v Superman. Once you jump ahead in time, now you’ve trapped yourself into having to explain what happened in that time, and you might have to do it so quickly that it seems like you’re glossing over important events. I feel like that’s fine for the beginning of a book (you know, the second book starts years after the first ends), but if you’re doing it in the middle of a book, then it kind of feels like you’re starting all over.

    As for writing out of sequence, I think I’ve told you before that I write exactly like that. I write like I’m putting together a puzzle. What do you call that? Not a plotter or a panster… a puzzler? Anyway, yes, there are times when I get to fitting in a scene I’ve had written for awhile it turns out that my character(s) are in a different frame of mind than what I originally thought. But that’s okay. I just keep them going the way they’re going and only use key aspects of the pre-written scene. Sometimes I’ll change the dialogue, if need be. The important thing is to stay true to your writing in the moment. What you’ve pre-written was what came from a past moment, but that doesn’t have to get in the way of the current moment. It can folded in, either a little or a lot or maybe none at all. I’ve cut entire scenes that I had written out of sequence simply because they no longer fit. It’s not a bad thing to do that, it’s just what it is. Remember, what’s best for the story is what’s best for the story, whether it’s cutting scenes or writing out of sequence, or whatever else, even a time jump (feel free to not listen to me and do the time jump, if only as an experiment). Just keep asking that all-important question, “Does this serve the story well?” and you’ll do fine. πŸ™‚

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  3. I completely understand wanting to write chronologically but sometimes you can’t help but jump around. If you’re stuck, you have to do what’s best to get you unstuck. I did this multiple times with UB and it helped every time. Sometimes when I go out of order, it will jog something loose from the troublesome bit, allowing another piece of the puzzle to fall into place. I made a two year time jump in my MS yesterday. I had to make a crazy decision about switching from third to first and I just kinda went with it. I’m not sure how it will work but it made sense at the time. We shall see though. I’m sure you’ll do great no matter what you decide. Good Luck! πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sometimes we have to take big leaps. I’ve told myself that the time jump will happen because I want it to, and that’s a good enough reason. I write for me, and I get mad at myself when I overthink because I never used to. I hope your time jump and switch went well!

      Liked by 1 person

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