Words for Writers: My Visit With the Scarborough Museum Youth Team – Part 4 / 5

On Tuesday March 25, 2013 I visited the Scarborough Museum Youth Team to talk about being a writer. I got some really great questions, and with the youth team’s permission, I’m going to re-answer them there. Check back every day for a few new questions and answers.


Q: What time of day do you write best?

A: Night, definitely. I like it when the world is dark and quiet, and the only sounds are the people in my head talking and the click of my keys. Sounds vaguely creepy and unbalanced when I say it like that. J But there’s something about the hush of the sleeping world that is perfect for telling stories amid.


Q: What do you write first, beginning or end?

A: When I start a book I’m never certain if what I’m writing will be the beginning, the end, or something in the middle. Usually I write the scene that has jumped into my head, and then I write down whatever other chunks are floating around in there, and then I take a step away to consider what I’ve created and what the structure of such a story could be. I find Scrivener invaluable for this process – it’s a great program and I cannot pimp it enough!


Once I’ve figured out what the overall narrative might be, based on what I’ve written, then I usually try to figure out how the narrative should end. I jump to the ending and I write that next. Once I know where the end is, then I think about where the beginning has to be, based on that – and I jump forward and write that. Once that’s done, I try to think of all the cool scenes or moments that I really want to get on “paper” before they fly out of my head.  Then I go back to the beginning and start filling in the blanks as I come to them. If another cool scene or bit of dialogue jumps into my head, I leap forward and write that, and then go back to where I left off.


So, essentially, it’s like building a stone walkway. I make a bunch of bricks and then play Tetris and Jenga with them until they fit together the way I want them to. I lay the first and the last stones of the path, and then play with the rest of the stones until they lay right, and then I go in and cement them all together.

More to come tomorrow!


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JM FreyWords for Writers: My Visit With the Scarborough Museum Youth Team – Part 4 / 5