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Quilt-style writing

August 2, 2012

As I was driving yesterday, I got an idea for a scene in my current, forever, work in progress, involving the protagonists meeting with a newspaper columnist who doesn’t like them. It’s a good scene, and though I’m not exactly sure where it goes, it fits and is necessary in my story. So I wrote it.

The other four pieces I wrote yesterday fit someplace, too. They’re solid pieces that illuminate the characters and move the plot forward. I’m just not sure where they fit at this point.

From the time I’ve starting writing things longer than a grocery list, I’ve written in chronological order. Although I typically know the end of the story, I don’t always understand all the steps required to get there–I’m not an outliner.

Then I find a wonderful prompt and write to it, and I know it fits in the story. I’ve often joked that if I could get someone to feed me prompts on demand for a few weeks, I’d have a best-selling novel. (If I ever get rich, I’ll do that, actually.)

The ODC-freak in me rebels at the idea of a novel written quilt-like, where you create the pieces, then sew them together to make a whole. But the bigger thinker in me–the one who’s sick of rarely getting past the first-draft phase, thinks the idea’s definitely worth pursuing. What do I have to lose, right?

So how about you? Is your writing quilt-like? Do you start from the beginning and end at the end? Or do you hopscotch your way there and fill in the gaps as you find them?

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One Comment
  1. August 2, 2012 4:31 pm

    My brain prefers to think linearly. That doesn’t stop me from sometimes coming up with random scenes and writing them out. Then I just use my outline to mark where they fit (yeah, I’m in the outline camp).

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