Writing Advice: The Right Order


Although we all struggle with moments of writer’s block, hopefully we all also experience flashes of inspiration when we can’t seem to write down the words fast enough. When I get into a groove of writing, I know that I have to seize that moment and get everything written down so that I don’t lose the moment of inspiration. Of course, when you’re writing at rapid speed like that, you may miss a few things. You may misspell some things, or mis-name your character. As you’re hurrying through, you may even include some important actions or plot points in the wrong order.

Naturally, you will pick up on these things when you begin the editing process for your writing project. In the 10 Tips about Process post on Writer Unboxed, there was a great tip for editing of this kind.

6. Is the action of the book in the right order? This is a weak point for me. Sometimes I find myself writing very fast, following an idea in order to capture it. When I look back, the progression of paragraphs almost always needs reordering. Or, I might have a character skipping steps by taking an action early on that shouldn’t happen until later in the story, a sure way to leave the character with no options going forward.

I think this is a fantastic writing tip, and something that you should definitely look for as you’re editing. When you’re reading through your finished story, you likely have had some time away from the project. That distance will let you read your own words with more objectivity. And that objectivity may lead you to realize that, in your haste to capture the words blooming in your brain, you hurried along too quickly.

Pacing can be a very tricky thing, and it’s something that’s almost always perfected in the second draft rather than the first. When you’re first writing your story and getting those ideas down on paper, you’re not always thinking about how the story should unfold at a good pace for readers. As of that first draft, the story only exists in your head. When you begin the second draft, however, you will see the story more as a product for others to — eventually — consume. That will help you edit for pacing and for placement of certain actions within your story.

I hope this helps you if you’re in the midst of editing and aren’t sure what to do about mis-ordered scenes. Happy writing!

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan


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