Confession #4: Chronological or Scene-ical?

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A little celebration of spring during NaNoWriMo, as my current WiP is the only story I’m working on that doe NOT occur in winter.

Good afternoon my amazing friends! I just want to start off by saying I’m really sorry for the late start. To be honest, I thought yesterday was Friday, and had this post prepped for the actual posting, only to realize that it was Thursday. Then today I guess I just thought I already posted it… I’m sure we’ve all had days like that.

Anyway, we are now on Day 20 of NaNoWriMo, and I am currently about 4k words behind, but I am completely determined to make it up in the last 10 days of NaNoWriMo. I decided this week to talk about something that I’ve seen a lot of recently. And, to do that, I’ll talk about what now seems to be a very popular program: Scrivener.

I’ve used the demo for about two days, but honestly, there was just way too much to deal with. It looked cool, and had loads of awesome gadgets, but what I need for my writing is simplicity. I did, for a while, use yWriter, a free program that’s fairly similar to what I’ve seen of Scrivener, and it definitely was more simplistic and user-friendly. But, ultimately, it wasn’t what I wanted either.

I think I’m like most writers where I’ll sometimes come up with the idea of a scene, randomly, or I’ll realize certain things that need to be included in a scene. yWriter definitely helped with the organization of stuff like that. It also recorded my daily word count, and how fast I could type. And it had a thing where you could write down descriptions of all your locations and characters and objections, say if a scene was an action or a reaction, what time of day it took place and how long the scene was, and so on and so forth. For my current WiP, I am considering returning to yWriter, because I’m just about ready to read over and revise Book 1 for the last time, and editing scene-by-scene can probably go a long way in adding the emotions and descriptions to the story’s skeleton that I’ve spent the past few drafts creating.

But, I originally quit yWriter because it wasn’t really doing much for me. The whole point of programs like these is to have the option to write various scenes throughout the story instead of being constrained to a chronological story timeline. And that’s cool. It can be a really useful tool to be able to write whatever scenes you want whenever you want to write them. It’s like… I saw somewhere (I can’t remember where) that if you have this really emotionally-driven scene, you absolutely have to be in a state of similar emotions to write it. Or, at least, you have to be at a point where you want to write it, because if you aren’t feeling the emotions, your readers aren’t either.

So having programs like yWriter and Scrivener can definitely help with that; if you have to write a Loss Scene or an Angry Scene or a Betrayal Scene, but you feel like you don’t have the emotional well to draw from to write that EPIC scene, you can just skip it and write a different one. That is something that I sometimes do, usually on a fresh word doc or on a spare piece of paper that I (usually) type up later.

But my writing style doesn’t work scene-by-scene, usually. As I said, sometimes I’m in the mood to write certain scenes, so I just write it all out on a sheet of paper, but usually, I don’t like doing that. It’s like, if you do that, you have to rewrite it anyway because your lead-up to that scene could end up not quite meshing with the beginning of the actual scene. Or perhaps your character is acting a certain way that you hadn’t originally planned her to act like. Plus, I’d get confused about all the scenes I have and what scenes and fillers I still need to include.

So I think I’ll just stick to my chronological writing, thank you very much.

Readers out there, do you prefer to write your stories chronologically, or do you like to bounce around with different scenes?

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