My post last week (Beethoven or Mozart—what kind of writer are you?) has gotten me thinking more about my own writing process. I seem to be Beethovian through and through: not only in writing a whole novel, but also when writing small sections within that novel.
Although I only have about thirty new pages (in addition to the 100 pages previously written), I’m working steadily on the third Pandora’s book. But I can’t seem to go in a straight line. As I recommended in an earlier post, I’m focusing on individual scenes. These are scenes that I either have a lot of notes for, or have worked out pretty well in my head. However, as a Beethovian I am incapable of getting all the way through a scene without stopping to make notes as new things occur to me, or add something to a different scene, or change my focus completely.
Some of what I’m writing takes place BEFORE the first book began. In response to requests from many readers, I am telling what happened before and during the Change, explaining exactly how it was caused. I’m having fun with this. I knew most of it, of course, though it was never fully explained in the first two books. But I’m also learning a great deal as I write.
For example, I have found out how global climate change in the middle of the twenty-first century made the Change worse than it would otherwise have been. I have also discovered that the Gulf Oil Spill in the early part of this century led directly to the terrible mistake that caused the Change.
If you have not read my first two Pandora’s books, none of this will make sense to you, but here is the take-away message: When putting together a long and complicated plot, it is not only allowed, but it can be helpful to write scenes out of sequence. This is especially true if those scenes excite you. You are likely to find, as I am, that these out-of-sequence scenes then inform material that follows and make it much richer, as well as easier to write.