I’ve been writing since I was about ten years old. Originally, I played by all of the rules and wrote a book as you’re “supposed to write it”, ie in chronological order going from Chapter 1 to Chapter 2 etc. Over the years however, I noticed a certain trait in my writing: rushing through certain sections of a story to get to the interesting parts. Try as I might, I couldn’t seem to pace myself through the more tedious and technical elements of writing. It wasn’t until I had just started college that it finally struck me: rather than force myself to write chronologically, I would write only those sections I wanted to write in that moment.
Suddenly, I found my writing style greatly improved. I could take my time with each individual scene I was working on, writing only those scenes I was in the mood to write. For me, it was something of an epiphany. I revamped my stalled novel and had thousands of freshly composed words written in just a few days. One day I might work on Chapter 3, the next day I could find myself on Chapter 54 depending on how the mood struck me.
This strategy continues to be a remedy for writer’s block for me, and, I imagine, for many other writers. Even though I advocate it strongly, there are some things one should keep in mind:
· Make sure you have the whole story well drafted out in your mind. The reason I was able to skip around so much with the novel mentioned earlier is I already knew what the story was about and where I was going with it.
· Don’t be afraid of the delete button. Even with careful planning, writing out of sequence will lead to a few redundancies and continuity errors. Tweak it until it all fits nicely together.
· Proofread, proofread, proofread! You may have the whole plot cemented in your mind, but make sure the readers can follow your story as easily as you can.
· When you really can’t muster up the creative juices, get technical. Go through what you already have and check for grammar and continuity errors. Check for wordiness and clunky writing.
Maybe even with these tips you’ll find you just can’t give up the “traditional approach” of writing sequentially. That’s perfectly fine. Everyone has their own writing style. The important thing is writing in a way that produces a clean, solid result that you feel satisfied with. In the end, write in the way that you love. And as always, have fun doing it!
Jonathan Vars is a Christian fiction writer from New England, and founder of the writing website voltampsreactive.com. His latest novel “Like Melvin” is currently available on Amazon and Google Books. In addition to writing, Jonathan enjoys running, hiking, and trying not to freeze to death in the winter.