Author Topic: Has anyone written a novel in reverse order (even partially)  (Read 625 times)  

Online jm2019

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Has anyone written a novel in reverse order (even partially)
« on: October 26, 2020, 11:41:41 am »
Just curious, that's all, because that's what I'm doing currently with the last book in my trilogy. I wanted to get started on writing it while Book 2 was in beta read, but was having some trouble starting. But I know exactly how the series will end, I know the character arcs and what should happen, and I had a pretty good idea of how the last many chapters should be sequenced. So I started writing the chapters in reverse order, and I've written 6 chapters so far with no issues, each connecting to the next and previous cleanly. I'm going to keep going back until I hit the point where I need to begin the normal write, which will lead to that junction.

(you could argue why not begin at the point from where I knew what would happen next, but I hadn't thought through that much either. But when I wrote the last chapter, it just logically started helping me write the previous and so on)

Just sharing... another data point that there's no one perfect way to write!

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    Offline psnew

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    Re: Has anyone written a novel in reverse order (even partially)
    « Reply #1 on: October 26, 2020, 12:17:42 pm »
    I don't know if I could start off writing in reverse, but heavily editing with rewrites in reverse sounds like a good way to revisit a story line that activates my writer's block. Going from A to B to C over and over can get so mind-numbingly boring, switching things up with C to B to A might be a godsend.

    Online Decon

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    Re: Has anyone written a novel in reverse order (even partially)
    « Reply #2 on: October 26, 2020, 01:12:37 pm »
    Not with a trilogy, but I started with the last twist chapter 1st when I wrote In Search of Jessica, but later added an epilogue. Having done that, I went back to the beginning and everything drove toward that last chapter. It was very rewarding to do it that way. Saying that, it was the twist ending that motivated me to write a story to compliment the ending.

    « Last Edit: October 26, 2020, 01:52:32 pm by Decon »


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    Online NikOK

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    Re: Has anyone written a novel in reverse order (even partially)
    « Reply #3 on: October 27, 2020, 05:22:12 am »
    Not with a trilogy, but I started with the last twist chapter 1st when I wrote In Search of Jessica, but later added an epilogue. Having done that, I went back to the beginning and everything drove toward that last chapter. It was very rewarding to do it that way. Saying that, it was the twist ending that motivated me to write a story to compliment the ending.

    Yep, I've done it similar to Decon, but not as an entire series.  I like to write the last chapters either first or early on in the first draft because it helps me to know where the characters are going to end up.  It's not always the same by the time I get to that last chapter again, but it's more to help along the way anyways so I can set things up throughout the book.

    It seems impossible to me to do a series backwards because of how much things change from my outline to written page.  But maybe it would be fun to make the changes in reverse  :D  If nothing else, it sounds like a fun experiment.

    Offline Blerg et al.

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    Re: Has anyone written a novel in reverse order (even partially)
    « Reply #4 on: October 27, 2020, 06:26:59 am »
    I have done it. For me it resulted in somewhat flat characters.
    Not because I didn't know what the character arc would be. I did and I followed it. But because a the character's behavior and personality can evolve ever so slightly though their experiences, and mine didn't. Because I hadn't actually written those experiences yet. I fixed it somewhat in revisions, but it was a lot of work. 

    Also tricky, all the extra worldbuilding and exposition it took to make sure I arrived at the exact scene I had written in the time and place that it called for. If I had been writing linearly, I'd have simply tweaked the outline as I went along so the scene fit into what I had already written, not vice versa. (I imagine this wouldn't be such a big deal now that I'm better at outlining.)
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    Offline Dpock

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    Offline DebDougall

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    Re: Has anyone written a novel in reverse order (even partially)
    « Reply #6 on: October 27, 2020, 01:05:12 pm »
    Not completely in reverse but I always write the end first because that focuses me on how/where everything needs to end up.

    Otherwise, I write as I think of stuff, so I'm all over the place. It's a stressful way to write, so I don't recommend it, but I don't seem to be able to start from Chapter One and carry on sequentially till the end.

    It all comes together eventually, though.

    Offline Usedtoposthere

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    Re: Has anyone written a novel in reverse order (even partially)
    « Reply #7 on: October 27, 2020, 07:57:14 pm »
    For my first ten or twelve books, I often wrote books out of order. No difference in character or plot development. Eventually I just began doing it first to last instead. Gradual evolution.

    Offline J. Tanner

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    Re: Has anyone written a novel in reverse order (even partially)
    « Reply #8 on: October 28, 2020, 09:46:59 am »
    Mostly write sequentially, but the current book has multiple POVs and I've written all over the place with Act III stuff for some POVs done well before Act II stuff for others, and a bunch of short Act I scenes still to be written.
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    Online jm2019

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    Re: Has anyone written a novel in reverse order (even partially)
    « Reply #9 on: October 28, 2020, 05:39:50 pm »
    Thanks everyone for pitching in. Very interesting to see that some write out of order, and I might do a bit of that too. So far, I'm still going strong reverse, but I think a couple more chapters and this train will stop and then begin from the beginning.

    Offline K'Sennia Visitor

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    Re: Has anyone written a novel in reverse order (even partially)
    « Reply #10 on: October 28, 2020, 07:47:34 pm »
     I didn't think I was the type of writer who wrote out of order, but I find myself doing that with SLSS. Part of it is that I've finally accepted that I'm a discovery writer. So I'm just writing scenes as they come to me, and worrying about where they go, later.
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    Offline jdcore

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    Re: Has anyone written a novel in reverse order (even partially)
    « Reply #11 on: October 28, 2020, 09:18:28 pm »
    I'm currently outlining a novel which will be told backward. The first chapter will be what happened last. Each chapter after that will be what happened just before. Like Memento, but without the amnesia gimmick. Readers will find out things that happened that give different reasons than initially assumed for things that come to pass but which they already read about. After I outline it, I'll actually write it in order so I can be sure it flows correctly. Then I'll reorder the chapters, and do a subsequent readthrough to make sure the surprises aren't spoiled.

    Fingers crossed.

    Offline Maura

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    Re: Has anyone written a novel in reverse order (even partially)
    « Reply #12 on: October 28, 2020, 09:28:32 pm »
    I have written an occasional scene out of order when I had compelling details and dialog occur to me earlier in the process. I'm not sorry I gave in to the urge and wrote those scenes at the time, but it did make for some extra work when I got to them later in that they needed to be revised so they fit with everything that preceded once that was written.

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