Writerly people- when you sit down to write a story, do you start at the beginning? Or the end? Do you have it all figured out when you start, or do you just start writing and see what happens?
When I wrote In the Between (the novel I’m querying right now), the very first scene I wrote doesn’t take place til page 26. For whatever reason, when I was thinking about the story, that’s just the first scene that I could see clearly. At that time, I wasn’t even sure where the story would go. I just wrote what I knew.
That’s pretty much how I wrote the whole book. I knew some of the big things that I wanted to happen, so I would write those scenes, and then I’d go back in a fill in the gaps to get from scene A to scene B.
It. Took. Forever. And lots of rewriting. Lots and lots of editing.
I think if I could write a story from beginning to end, it’d be much simpler. But the problem for me is that I can never decide how exactly to start a story. Even with the Cooper book I’m currently working on- I skipped ahead to a part that I knew would happen early in the story, but it’s not the beginning. Right now, I just have no idea how it begins!
I’m also not much of a plotter. I know the general direction of the story- I know the main conflict- I pretty much know the solution. But that’s about it. I LOVE sitting down and writing and just seeing what happens. I know I sound like a crazy person when is say this- but when I was writing In the Between, there were times that I’d be caught up in the story, writing and writing, and all of a sudden something would happen that would even surprise ME! Me! The person who’s creating the whole thing! I know. It’s weird. But it’s so fun. I love it when my characters do something that I don’t see coming. It’s like the idea flies into my head just as I type it and then I’m like, “Oh! Wow!” There were a few pretty major reveals in In the Between that happened like that. They turned into excellent story points that took my characters in completely new directions that I hadn’t planned on.
I remember reading somewhere on Stephanie Perkins’s blog that she doesn’t like to outline a story from beginning to end because then it’s like she’s already written everything/figured everything out, so it’s not fun to write anymore. I totally get that. When I try to plot out a story, I feel confined by it. I have much more fun just flying by the seat of my pants.
So what do the rest of you do? I’d love to hear about it.