A few months ago, I wrote about how my current novel draft feels as fragile as a house of cards because I’m writing it out of order.
This weekend, I spent all of Saturday, minus meals and cutting out a pattern for pajama pants, reading through the whole ~57k draft and making extensive notes on a printout of my beautiful color-coded outline about where I need to add transitions, where I have gaps that I have to fill in, how the ending is supposed to work, etc.
Writing out of order has made me feel like I’m making no progress even as I watch the word count increase. My brain is too small to hold an entire book–that’s why I started writing them down in the first place–but when I’ve written in order, I know that there’s a whole book behind the spot I’m currently at, and it has a feeling of solidity. Writing a bit here and a bit there made me feel like there were giant gaps.
And sure, there were giant gaps. But not that many. And mostly in Act 3, which I knew for a fact had holes because I have scenes called things like “there needs to be a lot more at the end here” and “action ending escape thing”. But reading the whole thing through, I was impressed at how well it fits together. There are some inconsistencies where I wasn’t sure who knew what when, but they were all fairly simple to fix. I’ve still got a bunch of scenes to write, and a short list of things to figure out (mostly in Act 3), but I no longer feel like I have something that will collapse if I breathe wrong.
I might be sold on this writing out of order thing.