Every once in awhile, we stumble across something and it’s like meeting an old friend. These are things that we used to do or enjoy, but have somehow forgotten completely about them. And, at least if you’re me, you then feel like a complete and total idiot for being such a tool. Eh, it happens.
This happens to me a couple times a year. I have hereditary forgetfulness passed on to me from my Absent-Minded Professor father. It happened again to me last week. What was interesting was that it involved writing, so it’s pretty embarrassing. You know, the whole being a writer thing makes forgetting something about writing a pretty horrific thing to admit. But I did.
I totally forgot that you could write things in a non-linear fashion. I know. MIND BLOWING. What makes it more embarrassing is that this was my modus operandi for screenwriting while getting a BFA. It was also pretty standard for how I wrote as an early teenager. I suspect the daily workshop process I went through in high school made writing like that impractical is where I forgot about it in terms of fiction.
Hilariously, I’ve been using Scrivener for almost a year now. The defining feature of Scrivener is it makes non-linear writing a lot more intuitive. Somehow, I remained a slave to writing things in order, something that most other word processors force upon you. Considering how often I see screenshots of Microsoft Office aka Word from other writers, I wouldn’t be surprised if this loss-of-skill isn’t at least somewhat common.
It occurred to me in the shower last Thursday. Most of my good ideas come to me in the shower. I was dying to write a very climatic scene in my current novel but it wasn’t going to arrive for another, oh, 20,000 words at least. I realized I could just, you know, write it anyway.
So I’ve started writing in a dot-to-dot fashion. That is perhaps a misnomer, since dot-to-dots you usually complete in order. I’m writing dots though, and eventually I’ll got back and connect them together. I often solve problems earlier in my stories while writing things later. I’m hopeful the rediscovery of Writing Whatever The Hell I Want will decrease the amount of backtracking I have to deal with.
Facepalm indeed, Picard!