Tuesday, March 5, 2013

WRITING-CUT AND PASTE STYLE WITH JANE CHOATE

Good morning everyone, Audra here. I've invited Jane Choate to join us today. I met Jane at my very first RWA meeting at our local chapter, Colorado Romance Writers, waaaay back in 1993. She was kind and inviting to a visitor scared to death of walking into a daunting room filled with real romance writers. Now, years later, Jane and I attend a different writers' group together where she continues to encourage and share her wisdom and knowledge with friends and writers.

Jane has unique insight into many aspects of writing including blogs, articles and of course, romance novels. At one CRW meeting, she described her method of writing a novel. She described my creative process to a T. I asked her to share her story with Seekerville. She said yes : )

WRITING-CUT AND PASTE STYLE

Did you know that movies are not shot in sequential order?  Scenes are shot for convenience, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness.  For example, if a movie contains a number of scenes that occur in the mountains, they are shot all together, then cut and spliced into the proper place in the movie.

I only learned this recently as I lamented to my husband (once again) that I was at the point in writing a book where I needed to put my scenes in the proper order and write the dreaded transitions to connect them.

He consoled me by telling me how movies are shot.  “If it’s good enough for the film-makers, it’s good enough for you,” he said.  This was said with a slight smirk.  My husband is a mechanical engineer who approaches everything in linear fashion.  My writing, indeed my whole life, is anything but linear.

Eager as I was to justify my haphazard way of writing, though, I embraced his words.

Now that you know my deep, dark writing secret, I’ll let you in on another one:  writing this way is hard work.  It means keeping track of where you’ve placed certain scenes and retrieving them.  It then means finding the right spot to place the scene.  And, just when you think you’ve figured it out, you have to move it again.

And again.

How did I come to this point?

A lot of the reason comes from the fact that I started writing when I had three small children at home.  Writing came a distant tenth or twentieth or a hundred and thirty-second on my list of things to do.  It was fit in between changing diapers, throwing a load of laundry into the washer, and wiping off sticky fingers.

Again.

This was in the pre-computer (some would say prehistoric) days.  I wrote long-hand, then transcribed my scribblings to an old typewriter which I kept plopped on the kitchen table.  It was moved for mealtimes, then plopped back there again.

I snatched whatever moments were available for my writing.  As you can imagine, this resulted in a mish-mash of half-finished paragraphs and scenes that were cliff-hangers only because I didn’t know what would happen next or when I would get back to them.

Meanwhile, time and technology marched on.  I had progressed to a computer, added another baby to the family, and was slowly figuring out word processing.  My writing space moved to the laundry room, where my computer sat proudly on a table that served as laundry-folding central.

I kept writing.  I submitted books, only to have them rejected.  It was at this point that I found Colorado Romance Writers and, through that chapter, discovered RWA.  I remember my elation to discover a group of writers who were experiencing the same struggles I was and dreamed the same dreams that I had.

And then it happened.  I sold a book. Three years later, I sold another, then another.

But my writing process hadn’t changed.  If anything, it had gotten more chaotic.  Could that mirror my personal life, I wondered.  Our family adopted the little girl we were foster-parenting and now I had five children to care for.

Computers made it easier to cut-and-paste scenes.  I no longer had arrows drawn between lonely paragraphs.  Now I had little notes to myself inserted into the manuscript reminding me that I would need to move certain scenes when the time came.

So, let’s take a look at the disadvantages of writing this way:

- You have to keep track of what happens when and what follows that.  A timeline is handy.

- You have to write transitions.  I don’t know about you, but transitions are my bug-a-boo.  Writing how a character and the action move from one scene to another is awkward.  My words feel stiff and stilted.  

- You have to move scenes and perhaps whole chapters until the fit is right.  This is much like putting together a 55,000 piece jigsaw puzzle without a picture to guide you.

- You may end up throwing out chunks of writing when you discover that they don’t fit into your story any more.  (But don’t we do this anyway?)

Are there any advantages to writing this way?

- You don’t have to wait until inspiration for the next scene strikes you.  You can write any scene.  For me, knowing that I’m writing, making progress, is all-important.  At the end of the day, I want to look back at my writing and know that my story is moving forward, even if that movement is in a zig-zag pattern.

- You don’t waste time.  Your writing time is spent writing, not wringing your hands because you don’t know what happens next.

- You find some interesting surprises along the way.  These surprises may take your story on a different route, causing your characters to follow an unforeseen journey that strengthens the plot and avoids predictability.

Do I recommend writing this way? 

Yes.  And no. Try it.  You may like it. 

On the one hand, you may find that it frees your creativity in ways you hadn’t expected.  On the other hand, you may decide that writing out of order offends your sensibilities and sense of order.

A lot of your experience depends upon whether you are a pantser or a plotter.  Some refer to this as being right-brained or left-brained.  Over the course of selling thirty-two books (and writing a number of books that didn’t sell), I learned to accept my process and writing style.

 As always, learn what works for you, do it, and then do it all over again. 




The author of 32 books and more than 400 articles and stories, including 11 for Chicken Soup, Jane McBride Choate has been writing ever since she can remember. Penning stories about love and relationships is both a vocation and avocation for her.

Visit Jane at her blog The Gratitude Project, and for all you American history buffs, Jane also hosts the The Patriot Pages. Both are great reads. Check them out! 

AND we have a giveaway! Jane is offering one of her books to a Seekerville commentor today. Check the Weekend Edition for the winner!




Speedbo WRITES ON!  Comment =Prizes!

121 comments:

Helen Gray said...

Yee-haw!! The coffee pot is fixed, so there's plenty of coffee for everyone!

I've tried writing this way and ended up going back to my same old plodding ways. I write from beginning to end, toiling over scenes as I go.

But I'm retired, with my kids grown and gone from home. I have time to do whatever works for me. :)

Helen

Playground Monitor said...

Wow! I've been struggling with chapter 6 for days and had just about decided to forget it and move on because I already have part of 7 written as well as part of 8. I was going to try and write the "right" way -- in sequential order.

And here you go saying it's not right or wrong, it's just whatever way that works for you that matters.

Go Jane! See Jane cut and paste!

Marilyn -- who did finish chapter 6 after all and needs to do another 400 words before midnight CST.

Playground Monitor said...

Oh, and thanks for the coffee Helen.

Marilyn

Rogenna Brewer said...

Nice to bump into you here, Jane :) Like Helen, I write in a straight line.

Valerie Comer said...

And this is where writing in Scrivener is wonderful! So easy to move whole scenes or chapters to a new spot--and all the notes come along. Also easy to move back, or elsewhere, if it wasn't the right move.

I can't imagine doing it in longhand!

Carol Moncado said...

I can't imagine doing all that longhand either!

YAY for Helen being back!

Mostly I write sequentially but sometimes I jump to whatever won't leave my head. I've found if I do, I can get that scene out of my head, onto paper and it'll leave me along [of course, I did that one time, to get the opening scene of a sequel out of my mind and I ended up with 47K words :p].

I'd love a book [and Tina, I'm in for any of the prizes :)].

SpeedBo Counts:
Today: 3011
Total: 9069
Goal: +29 for the month

Playground Monitor said...

Yay! 1022 words with just a minute or so to spare before midnight.

M

Julie Hilton Steele said...

Thanks for letting me know I am not alone.

Quick aside: Keep Helen in your prayers. There is still a lot of work to be done at her house! We are so glad you are back.

A friend told me a while ago I am not a panster or a plotter, I am a "puzzler" because I write the scenes and then put them together.

I have discovered both the advantages and disadvantages of this method but it is ME. I get so much more written because I often have too many scenes stuck in my head at the same time. I honor that they are there, get them out and move on.

I am thinking a Scrivener purchase is in order!



Peace and a big thanks, Julie

Natalie Monk said...

I'm so glad to read this post, because I was struggling with this issue today and yesterday of trying to write chronologically. I wrote out of order last year and thought that was my problem when I ended up with a mess, but it wasn't. My problem was plot ignorance and episodic writing. This year, I have the plot outlined in a loose scene by scene excel doc. Starting tomorrow, I'm going to color outside the lines. :)
I really liked the comparison with how movies are shot. Thank you, Jane!

Speedbo Stats:

My "Chicken/Just In Case I Don't Make It" Goal: 20,000

My Official Speedbo Goal: 30,000

My Daredevil/In My Dreams Goal: 50,000

Words so far: 9047

Reporting in keeps me accountable. :)

Cindy W. said...

Good morning Jane. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your post today. I was beginning to think I was doing something wrong. While writing last night I started highlighting things to be used later and found that it's a scene that probably won't be used until late into the first half of my WIP. I'm glad to know others cut and paste.

I would love to be entered to win one of your books. Thank you so much.

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

countrybear52 AT yahoo DOT com

Debra E. Marvin said...

Okay, I wanted to comment but listing my Speedbo stats is frightening. I just started yesterday. I promise I'll share them ...soon.

I have to admit that the thought of writing cut and paste style makes me feel just a bit queasy. I have moved scenes around and cut enough, too, but jumping ahead?
oh, there's that funny feeling in my stomach again.

Bridgett Henson said...

I use a plot board to organize my scenes. I haven't taken the time to learn scrivener, so at this stage I save each scene as a word file and give it its own post it note.
After I get all of the scenes written. I go back and cut and paste them into chapter files.
And then I go back and cut and paste chapters into a single document.

Lots of transitions. Lots of cut scenes. Lots of editing, but it’s the scary way my brain thinks.

Glad to know I'm not alone. :)

Glynna Kaye said...

Good morning, Seekerville and welcome Jane!! I think I read somewhere that NY Times bestseller Diana Gabaldon writes out of sequence for her huge books. I sometimes do it when I'm 'stuck' and need to get moving again, but find it gives me a false sense of being further along in my story than I acually am which can trip me up when I'm on a deadline. So I've tried to limit those "excursions" to when I know I can go back and fill in the transitions fairly quickly. Sometimes, though, I'll jump way ahead and draft the final scene or epilogue early on if they're clearly in my mind. I also keep a Word document where I can place dialogue and scenes that have come to mind out-of-sequence so at least I have them down 'on paper' so to speak and can cut and paste them later when I find a good spot for them to fit.

CatMom said...

Welcome Jane! Thank you so much for sharing this today--I have thought about going on ahead with a future scene when I get "stuck" in my manuscript, and now I'm convinced that's what I need to do. Congratlations on your successful writing career!

Helen, so glad you and your COFFEE POT are back! I'll have a large cup, please (cream only). ;)

Back into my SPEEDBO writing--doing great so far, if I can keep it up. (and I got up super early to bake some Georgia Peach Muffins--ENJOY!!).
Blessings, Patti Jo :)

CatMom said...

P.S. EEEK!! Just realized I spelled Congratulations incorrectly--how embarrassing! (Helen, COFFEE PLEASE!). ;) PJ

Sandra Leesmith said...

HI Jane and welcome to Seekerville, Thanks for giving us permission to cut and paste.

I used to write longhand and literally did cut and paste (well scotch tape) scenes in between the lines.

Have fun today.

And congrats to all of you getting those speedbo word counts. woo hooo

Audra Harders said...

Helen, you are an angel...an angel with a bottomless coffee pot. Have I ever told you how much I love you??

My prayers are all over you, babe!

Audra Harders said...

What a hoot, Marilyn. No right or wrongs here. It's okay to write anyway you want.

Jane says so : )

400 words -- go! go! go!

Connie Queen said...

I try not to work ahead because I know I'll have to come back fill in the scenes later.

Hey, but sometimes I just want to get words on paper and a scene I've been dying to write can break open the creative juices.

I will probably have to use this method for Speedbo. I'm completing a ms and I'm not sure what needs to happen for the next 20k words. (I know, Mary, I should just shoot somebody. But who?) While I'm figuring it out, I may write the ending.

Put my name in the drawing please.

Audra Harders said...

Hi Rogenna!!!!!

Valerie, I'm really loving my Scrivener for Windows program! I'm taking Gwen Hernandez's class right now and am floored by what the program does. Yes, cut and paste is made so EASY!!

Audra Harders said...

Carol, sweetheart, you are a writing machine!! Way to go! I'm so proud of you!

I'm laughing here. In order to get a scene out of your head, you wrote 47K words. Do you realize there are people in the world who have never written 47K words in their life??? You do it just to clear the cobwebs from your mind.

LOLOLOLOL!!

Audra Harders said...

I've got to get ready for work, kids. I'll be back...

DebH said...

i'm sort of a straight ahead writer, but if i do get an idea for a scene that's out of order, i do try to jot it down.

as for SPEEDBO, didn't get anything down yesterday because of little cub. i did sort of work out what i wanted to write in my head while interacting with child unit. just need to get it on paper/screen. *sigh*

Carol Moncado said...

Yeah, I know Audra. I still love that story though.

The bereaved widow of a very short lived secret marriage. A prince who recently discovered he must marry in the next six weeks or give up his claim to the throne. A bar in Vegas where they both go to drink their troubles away... [not that they make a habit of this mind you, it's a first for both of them]

Ahhhhhh. One day maybe.

I have an Audra in my current WIP. She's an utterly adorable 3yo [who looks a lot like my 7yo did 4 years ago ;)]. And whenever I type her name, I think of you and it makes me smile :D.

Becky Tidberg said...

I'm sort of in the process of that cut and paste currently. Reworking an ancient piece now that I understand plotting better. Just leaving the bad, adding more good and will look at the whole thing and draw those arrows later.

Jeanne T said...

I'm with others, Jane. I"m amazed at all you did while writing long hand. :) I've gotten so my creativity flows much more quickly when I'm sitting in front of a screen. :)

I have littles at home now, and finding the time to write has been tricky as of late. I'm very definitely a plotter when it comes to writing. As I work on my new story for Speedbo, I'm discovering that I'm going to have to write as scenes come to life in my mind. Soooo, I'm stretching myself just by doing that.

Thanks for showing me that it really can work. :)

Jessica Nelson said...

I like to write linear but I've heard of authors doing it like you do and it seems to work. :-) Thanks for the advice!

Jan Drexler said...

I'm a linear writer, most of the time. Sometimes a scene just needs to be moved to make the story develop better.

Of course, when it comes to editing, anything goes :)

Thanks for stopping by, Jane.

And Helen? Welcome back!

Janet Dean said...

Welcome to Seekerville, Jane. I stand in awe of all you accomplished with five children in the house! I don't use your method, but it sure works for you! Congratulations on those 32 published novels!! We all must find the method that works for us and embrace it as you have. Any secrets for your productivity besides writing in small snippets of time?

Janet

Jane said...

Janet,

I sound a lot better on paper than I do in real life. Actually, I'm a gray-haired, overweight grandmother who has to write because the voices in her head won't leave her alone!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Helen, thank you and muchas gracias for the coffee, chica!!!!!

So happy to have you back!

Jane, this is interesting. I know a couple of gals who do this, but I can't. I do go back and insert things and change certain scenes around if I think it helps the story, but I'm chronologically challenged as it is so linear works better for me...

But having said that I love how varied we all are! I think that's indicative of wide-spread talent and brain-type/learning style. And movies might not get shot in order (the need to save money intervenes) but the story is already written chronologically so they've got an edge on the author's plight.


I love this inside view at writing inside out! Thank you!

And I'm leaving off some cookies for those of you who haven't given them up for Lent. Chocolate chip.... fresh from the oven. With smiles!

Jane said...

Ruth,

Isn't it great how different we all are? I think that's how our Father in Heaven intended us to be--flowers in His garden, each unique, each with something to contribute.

Jane said...

Jeannie,

I know what it's like to write with "littles" at home. I would turn on my computer first thing in the morning, then write whenever I had a spare minute (or second). The words do add up.

Jane said...

Carol,

I love the story you just outlined. Very cute.

Jane said...

Dear Catmom,

I have a cat as well, a beautiful calico named Harley (a girl). She is my baby now that my kids are out of the house. She likes to shred paper, books, whatever she can get her tiny teeth on. One day I had (carelessly) left a book contract in a 9 x 12 envelope on the counter. I hadn't sealed it yet because I wanted to take a last look at it. When I returned to the kitchen, I found that Harley had pulled the contract from the envelope with her paws, then proceeded to nibble around every edge. I sent a note with it, saying "The cat ate my homework."

Jane said...

Dear Rogenna,

It's nice to "bump into you" too, here in Seekerville. It seems to be a great place to meet new friends and reconnect with old ones.

Jane said...

Dear Cindy,

Thanks for the kind words. My books are sort of goofy, full of goofy characters. I had one heroine whose favorite food was peanut butter and pickle sandwiches. Another character named her cow "Peaches and Cream."

Jane said...

Dear Natalie,

Thanks for the comment. I think writing "cut and paste" style allows us to break through writer's block sometimes and gives us permission to just write, wherever we are in the book.

Jane said...

Dear Glynna,

This is the first and, I'm sure, the only time I'll ever be compared to Diana Galbadon!

Marianne Barkman said...

Thanks, Helen, for the coffee, Patti Jo and Ruth for the goodies. And all of you rock! It's amazing, that no matter how you write the stories, when they get into my hands they are awesome! And i'mpatiently waiting for those to get here! What an insight to read about your methods. Praying for you all.

mitziUNDERSCOREwanhamATyahooDOTcom

Jane said...

Dear Bridgett,

Scary to think of the way my brain works, as well. I've compared my thinking process to a messy bowl of spaghetti, with all the strands wound around each other and pulled into a tight knot.

Elaine Manders said...

You really took me back, Jane. I was in RWA back in the day, using a word processor. Then I took a sabbatical, a looong sabbatical. I'd forgotten the snippets I used to write as scenes popped into my head. I wouldn't call them scenes, just a description here, a dialogue there, but they were filed away for when I got to that point in the novel. Now I've been trying to keep them in my head. Bad idea. Today I think I'll write the snippet about the old man dying and leaving my heroine alone in this cold dangerous castle. On the WIP I've written 2123 words in the past two days, not my goal but not too shabby.

Jane said...

Elaine,

Congratulations on writing over 2000 words in the past 2 days. You rock!

Jane said...

Dear Jessica and Jan,

I WANT to be a linear writer, have pulled my hair out because I'm not. I've finally decided I'm old enough to do it my way, even if it isn't the accept way.

kaybee said...

Linear rocks but only if you can do it.

Jane said...

Dear Julie,

I love your use of the word "Honor." That's what we should all do--honor what we are and how we go about things. I'm sure the Lord is pleased when we honor Him in our writings.

kaybee said...

I have always done a form of cut-and-paste because of limited time and space -- I've always had a job, kids around or both, and I share a computer with two other people, IN THE LIVING ROOM. So I do a lot of work on yellow legal pads wherever, transcribing whenever. Worst part is the continuity, but I've learned to make it work. The important thing is to be writing, however your method.

Jane said...

Everyone,

This has been a lot of fun. I'll stop back after I go walking with my husband. We keep trying to keep in shape, but it's an uphill and ugly battle.

BTW, I'm due to have an article appear in the April issue on writer's block, featuring some people you might know, including Amanda Cabot (who writes for Revell).

Jane said...

Kaybee,

I like what you said, "The importnat thing is to be writing, however your method."

Annie Rains said...

I try to write in sequential order, but there are times I have to do a little cut and pasting.

Thank you for the wonderful post this morning!

Revising a chapter a day for Speedbo. So far I'm on track. :)

Jane said...

I just realized that I didn't say what magazine the article would appear in--part of my disorganized brain! It's the RWR. I'm also supposed to have an article come out in the June issue, this one on creating your own writer's retreat at home.

Myra Johnson said...

Jane, thanks for sharing your writing method with us! Obviously, with all those books and magazine pieces in print, it's working quite well for you--congratulations!

I don't think I could ever do this successfully, though. I start my books with only the most general picture in my head about plot points and how things will conclude, but I don't "see" what happens next until I write each scene.

And then my ideas change as the characters grow, develop, and interact, so a scene I vaguely pictured down the road might never fit into the story after all.

So I'm with Helen (welcome back, Coffee Lady!!!) and will stick with my plodding "pantser" ways. Thank goodness for the freedom to write in whatever way works best--and also the fun of learning how other writers do it!

CatMom said...

LOVE your cat story, Jane!! Thank you for sharing that with me--gave me a big smile. :) PJ

Susan Anne Mason said...

Good morning!

When I first started writing I had no idea how to write a complete novel and just wrote scenes here and there! What a nightmare to piece together and get it to flow logically. Yikes.

Now I like to plot them out in advance, know where I'm going and get the character's thoughts, emotional state and motivations down before I start.

Sometimes I jump ahead to a scene, like a first kiss, just to get the creative energy flowing.

But it's exciting how we all work differently.

Cheers,
Sue

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Jane, I love that you've found what works for you. This is huge in writing, teaching, learning. Those learning curves are a huge step forward.

BUT.... I do sometimes see the ending of a book, or the heroine's success and then I work mentally backwards from that. So in a way, I can work in reverse... then write in fast forward. But I don't know if I'd be good starting in third gear and working both ways.

I need another cookie, Jane, you're making me THINK!!!

Playground Monitor said...

I have a deck of cards by Cheryl Richardson called Self Care Cards. Each one has a word on one side and then sort of an explanation of what that word can mean to you on the other.

Today's word: Progress

The "explanation": Charge forward. Be willing to make mistakes.

Boy do I need to take that to heart.

It ties in with the chapter I'm reading this week in The Artist's Way that includes perfectionism.

Synchronicity, eh?

And now I'm charging off to the eye doctor and then to work. And tonight I shall resist the lure of American Idol and write, write, write.

Marilyn

Audra Harders said...

I love seeing all the differnt writing style. That's what makes us all unique, I guess. To this day, I envy all you plotters who do it second nature.

I'm with Myra. I get an idea and follow the yellow brick road until we all see how it ends, LOL!

Audra Harders said...

Look at all the word counts!! Elaine, over 2000 words in two days? And this is you just getting back into the swing of things?

Wow.

You go, girl!

Jane said...

Becky,

It's fun to hear other people use this technique.

Jane said...

Myra,

Thank you for your comment. I can tell Seekerville is filled with fun, productive, and lovely people.

Jane said...

Dear Marianne,

It's so nice to "meet" you here. I'm so impressed with the residents of Seekerville.

Donna said...

Thank you for sharing, Jane and Audra!
This is exactly what I do. Which is fine until I try to write the transition scenes!
Oh boy, that's where the wandering starts! Even though I have a plot.

Welcome back, Helen!

Lyndee H said...

HI Jane,
Interesting concept. It really points out that we all have to find our way - the way that works for us. Happy to meet you and learn about your process.

After years of writing on newspaper and magazine deadlines, I learned to write from the first sentence to the last because time demanded it. I do that with books as well, although for the last WIP I brainstormed scenes by using post-it notes where I wrote the event to move the story forward as well as the motive of the characters. Then I spread them out in the order I felt made the most sense and built my outline and synopsis from those mini-cue cards.

And you're so right, it does take a lot of work to make this happen - word to page!

Speedbo update: I'm at 9,022.

Yesterday was hard because I had grandkids visiting so I only wrote 1,300. Today I'm snowed in! Praise God! Talk about a forced writing plan!

I'm so thrilled to see how well everyone is doing and love the networking this month long exercise provides. Thanks Seekerville!

Setting the timer for my first hour in, right now! Who's in?

Tina Radcliffe said...

Seekerville welcomes Marion Ueckermann to Speedbo. WELCOME MARION!!!

Tina Radcliffe said...

Jane buddy!!! Welcome to Seekerville. Great post. I actually write this way at times. Just depends on the project. If ideas are coming at me fast and furious, I don't want to lose them. So what's a writer to do? We write them down.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Audra, my first RWA chapter meeting was in September of 1993. Same chapter too. :)

Tina Radcliffe said...

And while you are Speedboing and chatting with Jane, don't forget to go to The Yankee Belle Cafe for today's Speedbo recipe.

Pepper Basham's Quick Chicken and Dumplings from Grandma!

Pam Hillman said...

I wrote at least one of my manuscripts this way. I was determined to write the story, the second in a series that was under consideration at the time. I didn't have time to plot a few scenes, write, mull, plote, write, mull, yada, yada. So, I just wrote.

The jury's still out on whether I'll do it again because I'm a bit too linear, much like your hubby. :)

Cleaning it up was really, really really hard for me, but... on the flip side, the job got done, so I wouldn't trade having written that manuscript like that for NOT having written it at all.

Jane said...

Pam,

I always say, "Do what works for you." And that may change, depending on what else is going on in your life, how the story unfolds in your life, and a host of other things.

Jane said...

Tina, It's hard to believe that we've known each other almost 20 years. Of course neither of us is a day older!

Jane said...

Lyndee,

How did you ever write 1300 words with grandkids there???

Nichole said...

Congrats on the COFFEE POT Helen!

Carol – I hope to brave one day and post my SPEEDO goal and totals for everyone. Your WAY ahead of me :)

I believe I am more of a linear writer, especially since SPEEDO has forced me to write more consistently and organize my writing time better. I do keep a miscellaneous word document open where I will write anything that doesn’t fit but that I had to get out of my system. I save it daily in case I can use it for material later or in another piece.
It’s good to know there is so much variety in writers.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Nichole, we're all about the FORCE MOVE, honey!!!

:)

And I do what you do, I keep a side doc open so that I can drop in ideas/thoughts that come to me at weird times.

AND... I keep a string of notes of what I think of or what I should reference that I foreshadowed 150 pages PRIOR!!!! so that I don't forget. And then as I fulfill those notes at the end of the MS I delete them...

That helps me to not skip around, because my brain likes forward motion. But I can so see Audra working like this because she's great at drawing things in from multiple directions and making sense of them. The only time I can do that is during Pick-Up Sticks.

Jane said...

I'm seeing a trend here with Ruth and Nichole--having a file or some way of keeping track of ideas and things that need to be included in the book. I used to be able to depend on my memory, but not any more.

Off the subject, but have any of you thought of writing for Chicken Soup. They have nine collections for which they're currently seeking stories. (Notice how I worked the word "seeking" in there?) It's easy to submit, just go to the Chicken Soup website and fill out the form and drop in your story. The stories are short, don't take very long to write, and can be a nice break from writing books. Anyway, just a thought ...

Jackie said...

Hi Jane,
I like the sound of this. Next time I'm blocked I may try your method.

Thanks for sharing.

Jackie

Lyndee H said...

Jane, I couldn't think about writing with those little guys showering me with hugs and requests for playtime! I wrote after they left.

Thought I'd add that one way I keep my details straight is by keeping an old fashioned composition notebook for each manuscript. It's a quick reference guide for the WIP and I also include 'photos' of my characters, setting notes, etc, and it sits on my desk next to my keyboard so I can easily grab it. I also glue in an envelope so I can keep scraps of thoughts that come to me when I'm driving. I love when the new school supplies hit the shelves because those notebooks are cheap (often between .49-.99) and they colorful, sturdy and easy to file.

I can hear one of my Pommy's barking in the distance which means someone has shut herself in one of the bedrooms, so I better run to save her! Then back to work!

Missy Tippens said...

Jane, thanks so much for being with us today! I had to crack up at your comment about your husband. I'm not an engineer, but I've very linear when I write. I don't know if I could do this!! But I sure may give it a try sometime. :)

Thanks, Audra, for having Jane share!

Missy Tippens said...

Speedbo count for yesterday: 1529. Hopefully today will be better. I'm still working...

Debby Giusti said...

Jane, thanks for sharing your special way to write a book. Isn't it interesting how everyone has their own style that seems to work for them!

Eleven chicken soup stories. Nice. Do you always have a few under review? I've published two so far, but the process takes times. Are you still submitting?

Carol Moncado said...

Christina Rich talked me into trying OneNote for this MS. I'm liking it and dropping character notes etc in it as well as a chapter outlineish type thing. Plus a 'to be worked in' page.

Nichole - I promise you the words aren't pretty :p. This is my favorite part. Letting the words fly and see what comes out [I LOVE the yellow brick road!] but they usually need lots of editing and I don't like that part nearly as much. I do it. But I don't like it.

Example:

Two NaNos it opened on a train from Missouri to Arizona. About halfway through their trip they suddenly ended up in an old Ford Taurus between Missouri and Nashville. While in Nashville they were magically transported to Indianapolis and drove back to Missouri in a nice SUV.

Had to fix that...

But I love them and they were lots of fun and I hope y'all get to see them someday ;).

Time to head home, make a cake [it would have been my mom's 67th bday today - I'll share cake :D], and get some more words in. 1500 so far...

Carol Moncado said...

Er, that should be two NaNos AGO...

Jan Christiansen said...

Don't know if I could do the cut and paste style of writing. I have a hard enough time just getting the inner editor to shut up and let me enjoy the writing process.

Hope all is going well for everyone who is SPEEDBO-ING!

I'm still doing hospital duty with my brother, who is getting very grumpy, by the way. :(

Julie Lessman said...

HELLO, JANE -- WELCOME TO SEEKERVILLE!!

And, WOW ... thirty-two books and over 400 articles??? YOWZA, that is truly impressive ... and educational for you, I'll bet! Thank you SO much for sharing some of the education with us today.

I find your method VERY interesting and intriguing, kind of like a plotster with pants. I'm a pantster myself, who's been forced to dally in being a plotster as well, so your method, as chaotic as you claim it to be, actually does make sense to me (which in an of itself, should worry you ... :))

I am driven by writing love scenes, so it sounds like it would behoove me to drop everything and write one when I'm stuck in the writing process with a scene that doesn't excite me. Of course, if it doesn't excite me, it probably won't excite anyone else either, so your method makes a lot of sense.

I am definitely going to give it a shot next time I'm banging my head against the wall ... like maybe tomorrow??? ;)

Thanks, Auds, for introducing us to Jane and her unique method of writing (and yours, apparently! ;))

Hugs,
Julie

May the K9 Spy (and KC Frantzen) said...

Hi Jane,

Appreciate your insight.
This IS tempting...
Perhaps I do a hybrid because sometimes I move on if the words just won't spout forth effortlessly. (HA! Don't I wish! Do they ever?)
But I think I do better moving along in a linear fashion.

Checked out Patriot Pages. What an interesting blog. I'm a happy new follower. Thank you!

Would enjoy reading one of your books. Thank you for being here today, and thanks Audra for asking her!

And go go go all SpeedBo'ers!

Sherida Stewart said...

Yes! Thank you, Jane! This cut and paste method is what I find I'm using during Speedbo. Glad to know it does work for some writers. I'll struggle with transitions, I'm sure, but for now my story seems to be moving along. I'll look for your articles in the RWR!

Valerie, I'm thinking about that Scrivener purchase, too, but is it hard to learn? I'll did find a Word class for writers--Yay!

I made my goal for today, so my reward is this visit to Seekerville. I'm thinking encouraging thoughts for all!

Prayers for you and your brother, Jan.

Thanks for the coffee (Helen) and all the treats.

Congratulations to everyone with the great Speedbo progress. I'm almost caught up...then I'll post my goal...

Jane said...

Sherida,

Cut and paste can be great for things like Sppedbo. It gives a feeling of momentum. Those transitios have to be done, but they're do-able.

Jane said...

Dear May,

How kind of you to check out the Patriot Pages. I started that when I realized all the tidbits of history I didn't know. (Who knew that the Marines were called leathernecks because they wore leather collars during their fight with the Barbary Pirates to keep the pirates' swords from cutting off their heads?)

Jane said...

Dear Julie,

Thank you for your kind words. Yes, give cut-and-paste a try. It make give your writing ... and your mind a shake-up!

Jane said...

May,

Thank you for your comment on the patriot blog. It's always good to know that I'm writing to someone, not just a big glob of empty cyber-space.

Jane said...

Julie,

I forgot to add in my comment to you that I had an article in last year's RWR about left and right brain writing, much like plotting and pantsing. You might check it out.

Jane said...

Debbi,

Congratulations on publishing two Chicken Soup stories. Yes, I always try to have several under review. Right now, I have sent stories in to "Lemons to Lemonade," "Devotionals for Wives," "Holidays," "Cats," and a few more. It can take over a year to hear, or it can take a few months. Like everything in this crazy writing business we've chosen, it's unpredictable.

Jane said...

Debbi,

I forgot to say that my latest CS story was in the Parenthood collection. It involves taking my then nine-year-old son to a small local museum for a cubscout requirement. I had forgotten to check with the museum about the subject matter of their display. It turns out it was all nudes. Brass nudes. Clay nudes. Watercolor nudes. Oil nudes. You name it, it was nude. I had my three other children there as well.

Jamie Adams said...

I do a lot of cutting and pasting when I write. I have a dump file for those sections that end up not working. You never know when they might come in handy.

Jeanne T said...

Okay, I'm checking in with a word count. I just had time to write a scene, and I got in 1,811 words. This plotter just did an SOTP move. :) Oh yeah.

Jane said...

Jamie,

I was amused by your use of the term "dump file." I have one of those as well. It is called, appropriately, the "noname file."

Jane said...

Jamie,

I was amused by your use of the term "dump file." I have one of those as well. It is called, appropriately, the "noname file."

Linnette R Mullin said...

Jane, I LOVE this post!!! I tend to be an "everything in order" kind of gal, but my current WIP I took a step out of time and wrote scenes when they hit me having learned the hard way that if I didn't write when it was clear in my head I'd forever regret it. The scene, the book would not be the same. Interestingly, the book took a different turn than I expected to because of it. Which is okay. I didn't feel totally comfortable with the section I originally planned, but this scene? Wow! It's a doozie! And now I can't wait to see how this book comes together!

Having said all that, off I go to write! I'm behind in my word count and need to get caught up. Happy writing!

Playground Monitor said...

Just got home after a crazy day that included getting caught in a hail storm while in the Wendy's drive thru at lunch. After a busy start to my work day it slowed down and I got about a page written at the end of the day.

Just printed off Pepper's recipe and am headed to the kitchen. I cooked the chicken last night so I just need to proceed from there. I can't wait to have me some chicken and dumplings!

Marilyn

Chill N said...

>> As always, learn what works for you, do it, and then do it all over again.<<

Wonderful words, Jane.

A question -- have you ever been hop-skipping around in writing the story, hit a point and then written linear from there?

Now to go read comments ...

Nancy C

Playground Monitor said...

Carol wrote Two NaNos ago it opened on a train from Missouri to Arizona. About halfway through their trip they suddenly ended up in an old Ford Taurus between Missouri and Nashville. While in Nashville they were magically transported to Indianapolis and drove back to Missouri in a nice SUV.

Let's see... my hero has changed his name from Max to Thom a couple times. And the heroine's brother suddenly became Thom too when he's really Nick. And someone went from driving a Jag to a Lotus. At least they're still in the same town. LOL. Continuity can be a real bear sometimes. Who am I kidding. ALWAYS!

Marilyn -- who is just about ready to dish up a bowl of chicken and dumplings. Anybody else want some?

Jane said...

Nancy,

Yes, I have hopped-skipped around, then written linear, then (sometimes) hopped-skipped again. As I said, I do whatever works.

Jane said...

Marilyn,

Yes, continuity can be a bear. And, yes, I'd love some chicken and dumplings.

Jane said...

Linette,

I want to be an "everything in order" kind of girl, but my goofy brain won't let me. Let's all celebrate who we are!

Cara Lynn James said...

Jane, with 32 books under your belt I'd say your writing process works well for you! I'm very linear and I can't imagine how I'd ever be able to put all those scenes together in any coherent order! Hats off to you.

Jane said...

Cara Lynn,

I have to be honest and say that it doesn't always work. Hence, all the rejections I've received over the years. But I keep trying. And maybe that's all any of us can do--just to keep trying.

Leslie Ann aka LA said...

Jane!
So good to see you on Seekerville, isn't it amazing how responsive these folks are? WOW

I love this group.

I rarely write out of sequence, however, I've been learning Scrivener and realize that the program will allow me to do so with amazing ease.

And now I want to try it. I do have ideas that pop up, and I know they can move my story in a different direction if I could have found a convenient way to make it work and not lose track.

Scrivener may be it, so I'll let you know how it goes.

Hugs
Leslie Ann aka LA Sartor

Lizzie1293 said...

I have completed 1 of 10 chapters for my goal. Yeah!!!!!

Jane said...

Leslie,

So good to see you here. I've found several "old" friends here. Good luck with Scrivener. I may have to try it!

Playground Monitor said...

Anybody know if you can freeze that chicken and dumplings dish?

Marilyn -- at 545 words and counting.

squiresj said...

We are friends on fb. Good to read your stuff here. Please enter me to win.
jrs362 at hotmail dot com

Walt Mussell said...

I have occassionally written fight scenes together, but I don't know if I could ever do it this way. I've also been known to write the beginning and end and then connect the two in the middle.

Playground Monitor said...

1271 words today. And chicken and dumplings for dinner. sending cyber dumplings to Jane

I'm pooped after a long day that began with an eye exam. Got sorta bad news. Even though my pressures are okay, eye scans show early stages of glaucoma, though not enough yet to treat. I really don't need another health issue, but it's not like I can cut out something from my diet and make it go away.

Bummer.

Marilyn

Ruth Tredway said...

What a relief! I thought of working in scenes a long time ago, sort of like building the blocks for a quilt before laying them all out and arranging them to get the design I've pictured in my head. This is the first time I've heard that other writers use this method to build a story. I love it. Thanks!

Tina Pinson said...

I do write chaotic sometimes. And I hand write more than not. So my pages will have a's, b's and so to correlate with the paper for another scene I wrote.

I am glad to know I'm not alone

Thanks for sharing

Tina

Mary Preston said...

I think it must be a matter of whatever works for you.

You have an impressive number of published books to highlight this point.

Cheryl Hart said...

My sister writes this way, but I just can't. lol

I like writing my scenes in sequential order, and when a different scene idea pops into my head, I scratch it down and then continue on where I left off. ;)

I have a separate Word document with bulleted notes that belong in my story somewhere.

VisionWriter said...

Hey! I'm in Colorado too!
Great article. I'll have to try that. I'm a slow writer, but I'm trying to become faster and SpeedBo is helping!

Deanna Mundy said...

That is my writing style for my master class assignments. I write portions and have to enterwine or give up some of it after I have done all that work. But, it is worth the A's.

I will have to try this in my personal writing and see how it works out too.

Cindy Regnier said...

What a great post. I have been none to switch around a few sentences or even paragraphs now and then but I'm not sure I could ever get through the complicated process of putting random paragraphs in order. I'm too much of a pantster - never knowing what's going to happen next so I could I write it in advance? I admire you Jane! What a system and a mind for organization! Thanks for the coffee Helen.

Sarah said...

Enter me!!!
sarahrichmond[dot]12[at]gmail[com
Sarah Richmond

Linnette R Mullin said...

Sounds good to me, Jane! :D