Out of Order

There are a few gaps in the WIP, where I couldn’t come up with anything else, so I simply started the next chapter with “two weeks later”. I thought they were permanent, because I’ve always written a story before in chronological order. Except… maybe I’ve leveled up.

Because the last two scenes I’ve written are filling in the gaps. They’re good scenes, they’re slotting perfectly into the worldbuilding, and fleshing it and the characters out even more, and providing explanation and foreshadowing, and…

And they’re also taking this book that has long since gone seriously off the rails as a meta critique on military romance, and turning it back to my normal thriller. And the world is getting darker, and richer, and the poltics getting more convoluted, and the people even more human. They slot in just like I was writing it in order, fitting like a jigsaw puzzle piece in the right spot. Any filing I have to do is merely to take out some of the “two weeks later” and a little explanation or info here and there that’s now somehow turned into a rehash of a bit of the chapter that wasn’t there before.

I’m going to call it leveling up, because otherwise I’d start screaming in frustration.

Then again, I realized what the problem is with this WIP; I normally spend about 6 months worldbuilding, writing scattered scenes as characters audition for hte plot, and plots audition for the characters, and figuring out how everything fits together, coming up with the rough ideas and highlights of the story… and then in about a month, sit down and pour out everything in 1K-6K days. This time I didn’t have that 6 month period, because the story started live from the beginning, and I’m stumbling through blindly. And I’m in month five… and wouldn’t be surprised if it takes another two to finish. Same time, far more frustrating process, eh?


(Snippet removed to comply with Amazon rules about percentage of a work posted elsewhere. Now available as Blood, Oil, And Love )

19 thoughts on “Out of Order

  1. I like that snippet you teased us with! I’m looking forward to buying it when you release it!

    I recognize that last sentence, and it fits perfectly where and how you presented it.

    1. I did a quick internet search on the phrase, and giggled when some site tried to place it as a music school poster “in the early 2000’s.” Oh, kiddo, history was happening long before you were in high school, and I can assure you it was employed with exhaustion and weariness by a drill instructor in South Africa on a young troepie in the early 1970’s, and it was an old, old phrase even then.

      1. I suspect there’s a Vulgar [as in common] Latin version that goes back to a centurion and a new trooper.

  2. Love the tone, really looking forward to the story. I especially like Twitch’s reaction to the ball field. Well over a decade later I still look for IED’s when I see trash in the street, and I was by no means a high speed low drag kind of guy.

    1. Thank you. I was looking back over that this morning and thinking “Do I need to layer in smell and sound to anchor the scene better in the reader’s mind’s eye? … and then I read your comment, laughed, and said “Not for my military readers, apparently!” And got more coffee.

    1. And here I thought because my “plot” consisted of about 10 bullet-point lines with semi-cryptic memory jogs for specific scenes (about half of which move, change, or aren’t used by the time I’m done), even if my worldbuilding with the ecology and economy was already done, I was a pantser already.

      But you’re right. This is being a pantser’s pantser. I don’t think I like it.

        1. Do you know how much time you can sink into research on the largest craters in the solar system that didn’t shatter a planet, and the minimum size needed to make its own weather? Or the trophic levels of subarctic marine ecosystems vs. temperate ecosystems, and how the various currents affect them? Or the week by week chores in a vineyard, and which varietals are most susceptible to which parasites, insects, and molds?

          1. As much time as you allow yourself? I usually start writing and research as I need it. And probably not as in depth as I ought. A fair amount of rewriting occurs.

            1. I *used* to research first and then write. But now… *looks over at neglected book on Rhodesian FireForce tactics that I have to finish in order to write the next scene*….

  3. I think as you get better you get better at pantsing? Also I find it ironic that Twitch is quoting that line about rehearsal in a book by someone who is blogging about rehearsing. (grin) Totally iterative. (And if I don’t work my flute some I will sound really bad in church next week)

    1. Everything gets better with directed practice. (Except healing; there doesn’t seem to be a way to instruct my body to do that better and faster than when I was 18, because I have more practice.) At least I have the advantage of knowing people further down the road, with more experience, and so I can tell that writing out of order is, indeed, a skill set that you pick up. Which is why I say it’s leveling up.

      Still gonna complain about it, because I don’t want to do it, but in the end, if it works, and the book is better for it, and the readers are happy, then it works. So after the obligatory initial complaints, I shall suck it up and keep writing, yes?

      Glad the irony amused you!

  4. Good for you, and about time…LOL Let the muse run! And that last was around in the 70s when I went through training… I’d say it ‘probably’ dates to Roman Legions… LOL

  5. Research can become an incredible time sink if you let it take over. Always remember that you aren’t building a world, you’re building a stage set. Have faith in the pants!

    1. Amen. And very nice snippet. Speaking of stage-setting … can anyone recommend a web resource to pull up a readable ancient city map? I don’t have the skills to make one up. Any help would be appreciated.

  6. Love the snippet. Want the book. The levels and mixes of conflicts and interests will be fun to read about. Like an adventure. 🙂
    Dangerous, nasty stuff that happens to someone else, far away.
    NFOs comment reminds me of reading of Henry VIIIs law requiring all men of military age to practice archery with longbows every Sunday after church, with the targets at a distance of no less than 220 yards.

  7. I’m one of those people who usually does things worse with practice.

    Like bowling. Honestly, everybody is safer if I just don’t think about getting it right, aiming, improving… If I don’t think about it, the ball goes in the vicinity of the pins. If I try hard to aim, it ends up in the gutter or the next lane.

    I try to think about it as being like zen archery; but really, it’s like having very bad astigmatism. Because I do.

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