Juicy Scenes First?

It is that time of the semester. That’s why this post comes to you later in the day.

Yesterday, Tiffany Trent posted this entry about finding her way back to a story and writing out of sequence.

There is a great deal of merit in writing the scenes that excite you.

Writers, I know, are of different schools of thought on this. Uncle Jim MacDonald says he writes the ending first, sees who’s there, and works his way toward that. My friend Catrina Horsfield wrote a lot of the scenes of her WIP out of order because they were more interesting to her. It’s not a bad idea to be where the moment of inspiration is.

Inevitably, there’s the middle that must connect all those scenes at the fine beginning and the sparkly end, and the climax scenes. Is it best to slog through those chronologically? Different writers go different ways.

You might wonder what have done on, say, my latest project. I ascribe to the adage that each novel is different. The troll novel has been one stubborn cuss. I started it, and beach combed the first 3-4 chapters. After Viable Paradise, I wrote the ending. Then I started connecting the two ends, sort of like building the railroad in the U.S. in the 19th century. In the middle of that process, the plot outline hit.

This version is about emotional overlay, and revamping pieces of the plot that need to be told from a different POV. I’m also culling parts that sound silly to me now. Has this novel been written out of order? Yes, yes it has. Have I written some of the more inspiring scenes first? Yes, I have.

Whatever works works. If one doesn’t work, try the other. You never know. Hulk Hercules was a linear little guy. Twelve tasks, twelve stories, you know the drill.

Tiffany also talks about looking at how similar writers have delved into the same or a similar story as the one you’re writing. She finds it inspiring.

Jim Hines had a different take. Jim Hines lets it be known that the reason he wrote his princess series was that, well, he didn’t like the way Shrek handled its fairy tale princesses. I think that his goblin books also have a similar riff.

Using myself as an example again, the troll book doesn’t have one originating source, but I have to say that I wanted to write a different kind of faerie story than the ones I’d been seeing. I’d been Sidhe’d out, and so we ended up here. Reactionary is also a reason to write, I guess. If it’s good enough for Jim, it’s good enough for me.

Take a look at Tiffany’s post. She says all this so much more eloquently than me.

I’ll be heading back to my story. I have brothers to build tension between, and troll-on-troll crush action to insert. No, not between the brothers. So not happening.


Author: Catherine Schaff-Stump

Catherine Schaff-Stump writes fiction for children and young adults. Her most recent book, The Vessel of Ra, is the first book in the Klaereon Scroll series. She is currently working on its sequel, as well as penning the middle grade adventures of Abigail Rath, monster hunter.

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