Writing Out of Order
Yesterday, I typed up a quick “summary” of my story, for a critique partner who’s coming up today to do some talking & brainstorming. Summary is in quotes there, because, well…there are lots of gaps and “I don’t know yets” along the way.
But what I really noticed missing is any real sequence to the events.
It’s not that my MC isn’t making choices. Much. The thing is, she just isn’t making them very well yet, and she’s not being really good about making them based on what’s going on around her.
What’s the big thing about a synopsis? Cause and effect. Yep. This happens, SO the MC takes this action, which makes this happen, which causes her to do this. Etc, etc, etc… Also the big thing about the whole story plot.
Not there yet.
In my mystery, much as I love my character’s, the story–even the early drafts–was very plot driven. And it was a plot I knew before I started writing, the story of a crime, a need to solve, and steps to find clues, check out suspects, and–along the way–stay out of trouble with mom and dad. When I ended a scene, I could say, “Okay, what would he do NOW? Where does he need to go? Who does he need to talk to?” In this WIP, while I know my hero’s need, and I know the big choices she’ll face and make along the way, those questions aren’t quite working yet.
I’ve got a picture in my mind of a later draft, where I do use scene cards. I’ll write the main goal and action of each scene on a card, then think and sort and organize into a nice, tight path with just the right balance of action and character growth. It’ll look something like the perfect hand of gin rummy. Or poker.
Not so much like a game of 52-pickup. 🙂
What about you? How do you play with sequence? How much do you worry about getting it right in early drafts? Or do you step back later, work your magic, and get it all to fly into place?