Backwards Organized Writing


When I write, I do so organically.  What I mean by this is that I do very little planning before hand.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t just come up with an idea and sit down to type furiously away at it.  I will often write down my idea and since I like writing fantasy/paranormal I will usually write down “rules” for my world.  Any fantasy writer will tell you that when building a new “world” or characters the rules are important.  You have to decide what can and cannot happen and if there are any loopholes.

I know that in the past I have mentioned that I often use John Truby’s book, The Anatomy of a Story, to help plan as well.  Once again, his book prepares the “rules” of the story.  Its all about the characters, the theme, the purpose of the plot, etc.  All this to say, I don’t sit down and outline my books, nor do I sit down and plan out every detail of every chapter.

I’ve read some writing blogs/books that suggest outlining or using index cards to put scenes on.  There are so many different ways to organize your book and plan it out before writing and I’m sure they are helpful to most people.  If there weren’t then there would be no market for writing programs, like Scrivener, to hold all of your notes/diagrams/outlines…stuff.

I can’t do all of that.  The more organized and structured I get, when working on a book, the more I feel the joy of the story being sucked out.  I write “organically,” meaning I just let the story take me where it wants to go.  As long as I have a general idea of its direction, I’m good.

Except…after finishing the sequel to my first book, Words Once Spoken, I kind of ran into a wee bit of a problem.  Once I finished writing Curses Once Spoken, I set it aside for a few weeks to let it marinate and to allow me time to detach myself, emotionally.  Just this week I went back to begin my personal edits before sending it off to beta readers.  Ummm, yeah, problem.

Due to my lack of organization, I am finding that I’ll mention something in an earlier chapter that won’t match up with something that happens later and then, because I don’t know precisely where those other mentions are, I am frantically scanning the entire document looking for them so I can fix them.  Oopsie!  So, does that mean I’m going to start outlining my books from now on?  Nope.  I’m going to outline each chapter after I’m done writing about them.

Wait, no, I promise I’m not crazy!  See the method to my madness is this: If I made notes of a chapter after I write them, then I can easily keep track of topics that have been discussed so I can reference them quickly when I need to go back.  I was constantly attempting to do this when writing, too.  I would be in the middle of a chapter, wanting my character to mention something, but then had to go back and try to find out if they already knew about something or if someone had already said it.  Exhausting!! Agh!

So, while this may seem really simple and “like duh,” I’ve never seen anyone suggest doing this.  Most people give the advice of doing all of this before hand.  If you are a super organized/structured writer, well then more power to ya.  But, if you are like me and all of that structure and organization is going to go out the window once your characters have been set loose to tell their story…weeeelllll…you need other options.

Does anyone else do this, or am I the only crazy one?


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