If you are writing stories / novels, is it better to write in chronological orde

Jump to Last Post 1-9 of 9 discussions (18 posts)
  1. Ceres Schwarz profile image40
    Ceres Schwarzposted 11 years ago

    If you are writing stories / novels, is it better to write in chronological order or out of order?

    Chronological order - chapter by chapter, scene by scene.

    Out of order - chapter 8, chapter 1, chapter 20, etc.

    Which is the better method? And what do you think are the advantages and disadvantages of these methods? Also, which method do you think will get you to finish writing a story faster?

  2. PegCole17 profile image94
    PegCole17posted 11 years ago

    There's a great book called "Writing Fiction" by Janet Burroway which gives a methodology for writing along with amazing examples. I've found it quite helpful as I'm in the process of writing a novel, too. But in the end, it really depends on what method works for you individually. Everybody thinks differently and not all methods work for everyone.

    I find it works for me to write what comes to mind in stream of consciousness form and later go back and fill in the gaps and correct the obvious typos. Just one opinion.

    1. Ceres Schwarz profile image40
      Ceres Schwarzposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      I've never heard of the book you mentioned. I'll have to check it out. I guess it does depend on the person but just wondering what might work best or if there are other alternatives that might be better to try or to consider.

  3. MickS profile image59
    MickSposted 11 years ago

    There are some that are very methodical, and write every scene in order, blow by by blow.  I'm sure that for some people this works, There others, who, once they have worked out their main characters and plot, little scenes pop into their heads, which they write down, and may or may not use in the story.  This probably allows the author to more understand what he is telling.  This way probably works for many authors.  Of the two, I think the latter seems a better way to go, and I'm sure that even methodical authors start their stories this way, little ideas popping into their heads, then working them out.  I would imagine that the most logical way to go is to try both ways and go with what seems right for you and the story.  Which will probably be a mix of the two.  But, I would immagine that it would be fatal to any story to think, ah, so-n-so, late in the story, is going to do whatever, then not write a rough of the scene because you're not at that bit yet, memory is notoriously flimsy.  Remember, it is all right for you to have worked out and written the ending first.

    1. Ceres Schwarz profile image40
      Ceres Schwarzposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Yes, it would be bad not to write down a rough draft of a scene that might happen later on in your story because you might forget. But if you already have a draft and you're now writing your story, will you still be writing in or out of order?

    2. MickS profile image59
      MickSposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      If I have a rough draft for, events and characters for something that may be, say, chapter six, and the fancy takes me to do so, I will write out the whole, knowing that it will likely need to be modified as I get around, and beyond it.

  4. alancaster149 profile image74
    alancaster149posted 11 years ago

    Some stories begin at the end, go to a 'beginning', then work towards where they started. Can be confusing to follow unless well executed. It's been done no end of times by famous crime writers, amongst others. You've got to let your reader/audience know what's going on, though, otherwise if they can't follow your 'thread' they might just put the book down/walk out.
    Don't let it get get too involved, or you could get mixed up and lose the plot. Your readership/audience certainly wouldn't be able to understand your thought pattern and there goes your writing career...

    1. Ceres Schwarz profile image40
      Ceres Schwarzposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Those are interesting types of stories that can be tricky to execute well. But I was wondering more on if you're still just writing your story and you only have a draft but will now try to write it fully, is it better to write it in or out of order?

    2. alancaster149 profile image74
      alancaster149posted 11 years agoin reply to this

      I do my writing straight onto the laptop, (that's my notebook now) work through and go back through it again to straighten it out or change things.
      Before I had my laptop I wrote notes, a 'rough' translated into type as it would appear in print.

  5. lburmaster profile image72
    lburmasterposted 11 years ago

    I've never considered writing out of chronological order... You just blew my mind and really helped me out. That would definately help with my writers block. Sometimes when writing I get stuck with one chapter and just cannot move on. By possibly skipping that chapter and jumping to another one, I could get through the writing process faster... I want to know if that works for others.

    1. Ceres Schwarz profile image40
      Ceres Schwarzposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      I know what you mean about getting stuck in a chapter. But my concern in writing out of order is that it might be hard to connect scenes together and it might not flow well with the rest of the story so I wanted to know what others thought of this.

  6. M. T. Dremer profile image84
    M. T. Dremerposted 11 years ago

    For the most part, I write chronologically. I like to experience the story with the characters and figure things out as I go. However, I do have a tendency to jump over uninteresting parts in order to keep the story going (which I later fill in). I also find that this method is a little problematic because it focuses more on the central plot line rather than side stories. It would be like reading Harry Potter without all the Quiddich, holidays and non-plot related shenanigans. And some of that stuff can be really hard to inject after the main plot line is already written. Writing out of order can really help with that, but then you run the risk of a zig-zagging narrative that is harder to follow. Honestly, I think both methods are totally valid, it's just a question of which you enjoy more. Good question!

    1. Ceres Schwarz profile image40
      Ceres Schwarzposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      I like to write chronologically too but sometimes I find myself stuck in a chapter. I wonder about writing out of order but I'm concerned that the scenes would be hard to connect, might not fit together & story might not flow well. What do you th

    2. M. T. Dremer profile image84
      M. T. Dremerposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      I've written scenes out of order before and they aren't that hard to connect. But, in general, writing something out of order is better than letting the story go idle. If you end up hating what you wrote, you can always discard it and start over.

  7. Subrisus profile image56
    Subrisusposted 11 years ago

    I don't know if the value judgments "better" or "worse" apply here, but it is certainly reasonable to write your novel out of order. For example, if you have a key conflict or development in your story that you want to base the rest of the novel around, it may be a good idea to flesh it out first so you have a stronger concept to use in formatting the rest of the story line.

    Also writing out of order can help with writer's block. Sometimes you know where you would like to go in your novel, but you're not sure how to arrive at that point. By writing out a scene that occurs towards the end of your story, it might help you to see your destination a little more clearly and find a path to get there.

    Of course there's nothing wrong with writing chapter by chapter. This method gives you a natural structure and organization; it's easier to remember exactly what's going on in the story.

    I wouldn't get too bent out of shape about which way is better. Just write. If you've got some great ideas about how that final scene should play out, then get it on paper! If you want to write the story from the beginning and let it evolve on its own, then do it! You asked about the fastest way to finish your novel. The fastest way to finish your novel is to keep writing. Whatever allows you to do that is the best method for you.

    1. Ceres Schwarz profile image40
      Ceres Schwarzposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Good points. Writing out of order might help with writer's block but you don't think doing so might disrupt the flow of the story & cause the scenes to not fit well together? Guess the best way to finish is write but writer's block can be a probl

  8. nochance profile image86
    nochanceposted 11 years ago

    I write out of order. I care about the interesting bits and I'll leave the boring in-between stuff until last because nobody cares about that stuff anyway. It helps me avoid writer's block because I can just move onto a different section. Chances are I'm going to move the scenes around anyway. It keeps me from feeling locked in to the direction I'm taking the story.

    I have written stories "chronologically" for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). It works to just press forward and discover things as your characters do but the editing process for those sorts of works is much more tedious.

  9. Witching profile image60
    Witchingposted 10 years ago

    To be honest, it really depends on the individual story, as well as the writer. I wrote two separate novels, both were Historical Fiction, both were set in the same time period with a similar narrative going throughout the plot. I used both of these methods for each one and found them both to work equally for me. Of course there are advantages and disadvantages to both, but I personally prefer writing chronologically. If I did not write in order, I would worry about myself wanting to avoid the boring but necessary parts of the story. If I wrote just the best scenes first there wouldn't be any good meaty bits to write when I got further along in my writing. There always are less interesting chapters, but writing chronologically gives you a taste of both and keeps things varied. Therefore, I think this will inevitably get your story written faster. You may be quicker at first if you do it out of order, but you'll soon be left with the bits that aren't so interesting. With nothing exciting left, this might become a real chore.

    That being said, I prefer not to plan my novels in order, to ensure all my scenes work together. I sometimes like to move things around before my draft, so I like to be able to pick any scene I want to write when I get my inspiration. When it comes down to the actual draft though, things are chronological again. The only exception I make is if I get stuck on a chapter, which we've all done. Working on the next chapter is usually my solution, then I work my way back once I feel confident in writing it again.

    Hope this was of use to you.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://corp.maven.io/privacy-policy

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)