Writing Question #2

I’m wondering, do you start at the first page and write each scene in order until the end? I often find I’m inspired to write a certain scene, so I jump ahead to it, which can mean that my events in between don’t end up flowing, so I feel like I’m constantly rewriting scenes and always tell myself, if i would just write from start to finish – in order – maybe this wouldn’t happen. What do you think?

I start at what I think is the first page and go from there. Once I am through the first draft, I ALWAYS wind up moving scenes around and sticking in new scenes and throwing some scenes out. And sometimes I change the opening completely. FEVER 1793 used to have eight additional chapters preceding what is now Chapter One. And TWISTED had a very different opening way back in Draft One.

Sometimes I will see a scene or chapter further in the book than the one sitting in front of me. I do not hesitate to jump to it. You can always write “Chapter Four: Something happens”, then move on to Chapter Five, if, for you really know what you want to put in Chapter Five. But if, as you say, you feel that jumping around interferes with the flow of your story, then experiment with not jumping and see if that helps.

We had my parents over for dinner last night. The dog (formerly known as the Creature With Fangs) gave my mom a massive wet dog kiss. My mom giggled and laughed and looked totally blissed out. So now the dog is the Creature Who Can Do No Wrong. Mom calls her the Granddaughter with Long Ears.

Other things on my to-do list today:
Study picture book manuscript – decide if it can be salvaged.
Follow the men’s Big East tournament.
Think about WIP2 plot issues.
Taxes.
Hang with Stef and Charlotte. (Here’s a link Stef sent me last night for anyone fed up with crazy consumer culture.)
Go to the library!

18 Replies to “Writing Question #2”

  1. Prep

    I just got finished raeding Prep. I thik it’s a very good book, and you might want to read it if you haven’t already. The way it was written sort of reminded me of the way Sylvia Path wrote The Bell Jar. I felt sorry for the character though because I’m so not like her. I guess I’m just telling you this since you said you were going to the library, and I figured you might want a good book to read….

    1. Re: Prep

      I read it a couple weeks ago. I liked it, but I didn’t love it… I’m not sure I understand why, though. But thank you for the recommendation – what else should I read?

      1. Re: Prep

        I just bought The Water Mirror yesterday (I haven’t started it yet). Have you read that? It got a good review from the nytimes so I was intrigued.

      2. Re: Prep

        I’m trying to think of book you haven’t already read…hmm…that’s hard.
        I borrowed Forever from my English teacher back in November. It was alright…nothing too big. I don’t remeber who it’s by, but it’s about an Irish guy who can live forever if he stays in Manhattan.
        I read Dreamland (same writer of The Truth About Forever) right after I read Speak. It’s very good.
        Those are the only two I can think of at the moment. What’s something I should read?

      3. Re: Prep

        Oh yeah! I read The Boyfriend List a while back, too. Loved that one! All the little footnotes were so funny! I didn’t like the ending though. I wanted to scream at the other people in the book and tell them to shut up and listen to the main character for once. lol I get into books the way other people get into movies.

  2. GREAT job on the Journal!

    Hey Girl:

    Just found your journal, excellent job!!! You’ve come a long way from the days when you asked me to take a look at your website and give you my thoughts on it. I LOVED the Medicare rant!! And you should be teaching writing workshops, your answers to these writing questions were most insightful. It’s almost time for the Poconos conference and of course that made me think of you. Hope all is well.

    Jan Kozlowski
    JCKoz452@aol.com

      1. Re: GREAT job on the Journal!

        Ah, so the Postal service DOES still work!!! I tried emailing before I sent the snail mail card but it got bounced back to me and I hadn’t discovered Mad Woman yet. I LOVE this Journal, it is SO you!

        Jan
        JCKoz452@aol.com

  3. Hey!

    Hi. My name is Victoria. I met you at the Jamboread in Spartanburg! Do you remember me? Your books are great! I read Fever 1793 and Catalyst in 2 days!! What happened to Kate, Mitch, Sara, and Travis? Did they all go to college? You are still and AWESOME author!!!!

    Victoria

  4. hey!

    hmm i think u should read….all of sarah dessen’s books b/c they r the best!! && megan mccafferty’s sloppy fist && second helpings. err && gossip girls but u may not be into stuff like that… but thanx 4 answering all these questions they’re actually helping me!
    Ryanne

      1. Re: hey!

        hmmm what i love most about these books is how i can relate to the characters sooooooo well. the authors don’t use fancy language but i still usually learn some new vocab words(lol). && the characters are j/ so honest and candid in what they say/think. it’s like you’re talking 2 a real person or seeing yourself in the mirror. the characters always end up discovering something about theirselves making some kind of internal journey. errr well except in the gossip girl books those are j/ funny. they aren’t really deep but they are very turthful about how highschool is && the kids. even if you aren’t rich you can still relate. umm yea anyways that’s why i like them b/c even though everytime you get a new book buy these authors there’s still something familar && comforting in seeing part of yourself in the characters.
        Ryanne

      2. Re: hey!

        hmmm what i love most about these books is how i can relate to the characters sooooooo well. the authors don’t use fancy language but i still usually learn some new vocab words(lol). && the characters are j/ so honest and candid in what they say/think. it’s like you’re talking 2 a real person or seeing yourself in the mirror. the characters always end up discovering something about themselves making some kind of internal journey. errr well except in the gossip girl books those are j/ funny. they aren’t really deep but they are very truthful about how high school is && the kids. even if you aren’t rich you can still relate. umm yea anyways that’s why i like them b/c even though every time you get a new book(esp. by sarah dessen && megan mcafferty) there’s still something familiar && comforting in seeing part of yourself in the characters.
        Ryanne

  5. guess who’s reading catalyst

    My sister the first thing I do when I come home is check my bookcase. Now at the time I didn’t know which one of your books was missing because I keep all of them in the same area. So I’m just about to yell where’s my book? when I see it on the table my sister’s husband says ooh someone messed with Jessie’s books she’s going to be mad. When my sister says that she was reading it. So now I’m waiting for it’s safe return and if she dog ears a page there’s going to be trouble! she loves it so far and she’s already read Speak.

  6. A Book

    Im a 6th grader at Ironton Middle School i just got done reading your book SPEAK wow i saw the movie on lifetime :)once or twice won the book at school its amazing Melinda is one on my favorits but on to the question….How Do You Get To Write A Story?What Do You Think About…Your Child Hood or Life At Home….my name is heather and reading takes me places your books r sooo very wonderful:)thanks for your time Your Young Reader
    Heather Mcsorley

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