I can’t write in order. I get bored. I get very uninspired. To me, it’s like going to a carnival and riding each ride in turn in a polite and orderly fashion. I want to run around that carnival like a madwoman, hitting the best rides first. Then, when I’ve ridden them all until I want to throw up, I’ll use up my leftover tickets on the smaller, less thrilling rides.
I write the scene that inspires me at that moment. I can see the entire book in my head—yes, like a movie. It’s all there. (It’s the getting it from the visual to the written word that’s hard.) If I’m out and about, a line of dialogue or a flash of understanding or a song on the radio or anything will pop into my head, and I have to write that scene. If the black moment is screaming in my head, how the hell do I sit and force out the next sentence in chapter 3? Sometimes I’ll switch scenes depending on what’s hot for the muse. It’s not uncommon for me to upload my Alphie take for the previous day and find 20 pages from 3 different chapters.
Does it add to my revisions? Maybe. But my first draft is always utter crap anyway. But what if my hero reveals some great surprise toward the end of the book? Well, there’s a good chance half the beginning and middle are still yet to be written. So I fix what I’ve got and have that in mind as I write the rest. Tinkering with the story and character arcs are easier for me than facing a straight line from start to finish.
There are drawbacks, of course. One of the most torturous parts of my writing method is bridging the gaps between all those scenes. Maybe that’s why I write short and my pacing’s been criticized in the past for being too fast. I probably skew the scene & sequel rhythm.
It also makes it almost impossible to work with a critique partner. “Here, have 5 pages from 4 different scenes in 2 separate chapters! How’s my arc?”
But that’s the only way I can get the story on paper. I can’t even imagine starting on page 1 and working in a straight line to page 320. Honestly, most of the time I wish I could do that. It’s probably faster, and there has to be less blending involved. But I can’t do it.