Writing in Sequence or Not?

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    Southern_land
    Member

  • Southern_land
    replied
    I vote for not. I cherry pick and write my strongest (and hopefully fun-est) stuff first, preferably the scene/s that drove me to write this particular story. They might be scattered throughout the narrative - scene, part scene, character description, sometimes just a line of dialog. That done gives me the motivation to draw everything else together. I write slow, I don't have much spare time to dedicate to this but in writing slow I have the story bones in place and can use spare, or boring moments to manipulate the fixed consonants and the fluid (unwritten) ones until I reach the end of my story.

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  • figment
    replied
    Originally posted by Bono View Post
    So you are not using an outline or any pre planning before you write the spec?

    .
    Of course I am. I know the main beats -- Beginning, End of Act One, Midpoint, End of Act Two, and what the Ending would be.

    So It's not like I'm randomly picking a scene to write that doesn't have somewhere to go -- if it's Scene X it'll have to go before the Midpoint scene. If it's Scene Y, I know it'll go after the end of Act One.

    (I meant to highlight a spelling error to delete and now I deleted a bunch of stuff. The print is so small on the boards now. I probably wasn't saying anything important anyway. Carry on....)
    Last edited by figment; 04-09-2021, 07:20 PM.

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  • finalact4
    Member

  • finalact4
    replied
    I write the first draft in order. However, after the first draft I may get an idea for a twist ending (or another idea for the story) that i have to go back and layer in all the set ups and payoffs. I can write those out of order. I can rewrite out of order, but I don't know how you write the first draft out of order. Everything that comes later is directly related to what came before. Unless you're writing a piece where it's non-linear everything stems from what came before.

    Boggles the mind.
    FA4

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  • Prezzy
    replied
    Sort of. Yeah. I'll have certain structural things that have to happen on certain pages, like something has to happen 15 pages into act 2 and something else will happen at the mid-point, and certain scenes have to happen before the mid-point and so on, but everything in between is fungible and can be reordered depending on how things will best transition to one another depending on what direction I go to make an individual scene interesting.

    I need to give myself a level of flexibility to allow my scenes to go in a direction that they'd naturally go instead of where I need them to go to make a rigid outline work. But that segues into how I write scenes in general, which is its own elaborate conversation.
    Last edited by Prezzy; 04-08-2021, 06:37 PM.

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  • Bono
    replied
    I want hoping for grandma. This is like choose your own adventure...

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  • Prezzy
    replied
    Originally posted by Bono View Post
    I got anxiety just reading this post.
    Haha. I'll give everyone an example so they can see how my mind works.

    I wrote a scene last night to start act two of the thing I'm on.

    Act one ends with two scientists discussing how the female lead is mentally unstable and has an accelerated capacity for learning.

    I have five options for the next beat.

    MC playing chess with her.

    MC makes her watch anime.

    MC goes to an arcade with her with his friends where she falls in love with guitar hero.

    MC introduces her to his grandma.

    MC makes her watch him play video games on TV.

    Because the last scene ended with dialogue about the lead girl's learning capacity, I opt to start the scene with the MC teaching her how to read, revealing that she can now read better than him as a gag, and I impov from there. Flow of the scene ends with lead girl wondering if everyone hates her because she's weird.

    The logical progression of this is that the next scene should be MC introducing her to his friend group to make her feel better, thus the arcade scene is next, and since the video game scene would have worked more as a lead in to the arcade scene, I have now dropped that from my outline.

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  • Bono
    replied
    Originally posted by Prezzy View Post
    I outline, but my outlines are abstract and non-linear, and I usually over-outline, so I can pick and choose what goes into the script in the order I think best works in the flow of the story.

    Basically, my outlines are like jigsaw puzzles that I assemble as I go and leave out pieces as I see fit, and they will only make sense to me.

    It's probably a crazy way to do it, and would likely drive producers insane, but it works for my writing style.
    I got anxiety just reading this post.

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  • Prezzy
    replied
    I outline, but my outlines are abstract and non-linear, and I usually over-outline, so I can pick and choose what goes into the script in the order I think best works in the flow of the story.

    Basically, my outlines are like jigsaw puzzles that I assemble as I go and leave out pieces as I see fit, and they will only make sense to me.

    It's probably a crazy way to do it, and would likely drive producers insane, but it works for my writing style.

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  • Bono
    replied
    I outline before writing -- so are you guys and gals doing that? Jeff does I know.

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  • Prezzy
    replied
    So, I don't write whole scenes, but if I have a general idea of how I want a scene to play out or think of a good joke, I'll jot down the gist of it and maybe a dialogue exchange I have in mind in my notes app.

    Although, again, sometimes I use what I jot down when I get to writing, others I leave it out because it doesn't fit into the flow of the scene or story the way I thought it would. Hence, why I don't waste my time writing scenes until I get to them.

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  • sc111
    replied
    When I research, there have been occasions where a factoid triggers an idea for a scene I may or may not use in the script once I start the outline. I'll write notes-to-self describing what I imagined so I don't forget it. But I don't write the entire scenes out of order.

    I've also come to see the validity of advice I was once given: your first, immediate idea is not always the best idea. I wouldn't first write and stay married to the ending scene for that reason.

    Then again, to each his/her own.

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  • JeffLowell
    Member

  • JeffLowell
    replied
    I can't imagine writing out of order, because everything builds and calls back what came before. Plus, I often have a scene outlined that will change when I actually execute it - if I wrote a further scene based on what I thought it would be, I'd have to throw the later scene out.

    Not judging anyone who jumps around, but I just can't imagine it not causing a lot more work than necessary.

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  • Bono
    replied
    Interesting Figment. So you are not using an outline or any pre planning before you write the spec?

    And yes I agree, whatever you do (if it works) keep doing it. But for a lot of people, maybe they would benefit from trying it a new way...

    But there have been times when I had a scene in my head and I think I should just have written it down and not worry about if I'm on page 20 and this scene is on page 80.

    I'm sure I have done that, I just don't recall doing that. I mostly like to bang out Act One.

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  • figment
    replied
    Originally posted by Bono View Post

    Great! We need you to tell us how you do that.
    I think you can't fight your own process, though. If you write in order then you just do.

    If I know what the basic points of the story is -- beginning, end of act one, midpoint, second act turning point, and what the end will be so, and I know who the main characters are -- then I know how they see the world and what the goal is.

    In thinking about that, individual conversations form. Let them talk inside your brain. The dialogue bubbles up. A blowout verbal fight scene -- that's usually one of the first scenes I write, because I find them fun, and revealing. Conflict drives things. Someone has to say **** they can't take back. And it has to change the atmosphere of the entire room. Who cares if it's actually the midpoint? You write that scene, you immediately know what has to come before that scene and after, so then you write those, and bingo -- you've got three scenes written. Or a whole sequence. But before that sequence, you know X has to happen. So then you write that. If X happens, it has to be set up in Act One, so then you write that Act One scene...

    You've got a character with a small arc with another side character? Great. Because they don't have to burden of carrying the main plot, they can be mouthy or unique, easier to write. Write that whole arc in four scenes. Slide it around the main plot, which leads to other scenes.

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  • Bono
    replied
    Originally posted by figment View Post
    Honestly, writing in order is a great mystery to me. I don't understand how people do it.

    I ONLY write out of sequence.
    Great! We need you to tell us how you do that. This is a new world to me... But maybe this would help when I get stuck. I mean I guess I have jumped ahead in Act 2 sometimes or skipped scenes I couldn't get right, but usually I'll just write the bad version so I have something and know I'll have to fix it later...

    But it is funny that 95% of movies are shot out of sequence for obvious reasons --- but I would guess most specs are written in sequence I would venture.

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