Category Archives: Writing a Novel

Writing out of Sequence


Does it matter if you are writing out of sequence? Not starting your novel at the beginning, progressing through the middle and finally to the conclusion? Do you jump around and write the scenes that excite and titillate you, make you feel alive and then try and rope the scenes together to make sense?

It’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s not necessarily a good thing.

Advantages to Writing out of Sequence

Crafting those crucial scene allows you to capture your characters’ thoughts and emotions and allows your own thoughts and emotions to flow. When they do -hey, there’s no better time to hit those keys.

Allows you to stay energized and get the best parts of your story down. Why wait, when you can write? Go for it. It can help your story take shape, and/or set it on a path you didn’t think of before.

Skipping ahead allows you to fight writer’s block. Perhaps one character’s needs and actions are clearer than another’s.

Disadvantages to Writing out of Sequence

It makes it difficult to know where to slot your already-written scene in. The scene stands out like a giant thumb, and can drive you crazy trying to figure out how and where to stuff it into your novel.

If you have written all the juicy scenes, it can sap the strength out of your writing. Leaving only transitional scenes to write can be boring, and taxing.

It can be risky. You might not know what to do with the scene once it’s written – it may not fit into your overall plot.

If you are a pantser, this might hinder you since you don’t necessarily know where your plot is heading to.

How do you write – in sequence, or out of?

Other writing/publishing articles & links for you from Writer’s Digest:

Pacing Your Novel

pacing-trPacing is what keeps your novel bursting with excitement and keeps your reader hooked and begging for more.

What is pacing?

  • Pacing is the speed at which you allow your story to unfold
  • When you release bits of information or clues
  • Time lapses and various sequences of events that need to happen for the story to reach its climax

Stories in different genres are often told at different paces. For example, an adventure story must, by definition, jump from action to action while a crime mystery must unfold at a certain rate with clues along the way.

Ways to Control the Pace of Your Story

Action scenes obviously move the story along rapidly. If the character is in danger, the readeraction is carried along and on tenterhooks along the way. This finger-biting suspense helps to hasten the pace of the story.

Dialogue is another way to further the action and plot. Since dialogue is not social chit-chat, the reader can often discover plenty if two people are arguing or having a heated discussion. Dialogue that fires back and forth sets a quick tempo that hurries the pace of the novel along.

Every chapter should end on a cliffhanger. They don’t have to be major ‘who killed J.R.’ type cliffhangers, but the reader must always feel reluctant to close the book, wondering what is going to happen next.

Jumping from one character’s POV to another is another good way to set the pace of the novel. Just as the reader is invested in one character’s viewpoint, the author jumps to another and adds a layer of confusion but interest to the reader.

Leaping from one scene to another in quick succession also works well.Short chapters and scenes can quicken the pace of the novel.

verbsShort paragraphs help and zingy, powerful verbs will move the story along and keeps the reader’s interest. Long narrative paragraphs, complicated backstories and detailed exposition tends to make the story dry and could cause the reader to doze off – not what we want.

Sometimes, short fragments or phrases, especially when used for thoughts quicken the pace of the story. Try using onomatopoeic verbs as well where appropriate.Most of all, trim your words. This is best done by writing in an active voice. Passive voice is long, boring and complicated.