I’ve always written down various scenes “as the inspiration strikes” up until the point where I committed to actually finishing a novel. By then, I already had so many scenes of a novel finished that the work was really a matter of putting things in order, and writing the scenes to connect everything and build to those climactic moments. It was less intimidating that way, but I still hit a sloggish point in the middle where I got really stuck.
After finishing the first novel, I turned back to that second project and started writing, but found it very difficult. I was trying to do like I had done with the first project: Writing it chapter by chapter from start to finish, but the problem was that I hadn’t written a lot of those “as the inspiration strikes” scenes, and was having more difficulty writing up to where I was going until I had a better feel for where I was going. I turned back to writing scattered scenes, then going back to fill in between those scenes, and the Writers In Training group has been wonderful about tolerating it.
I think for some authors, it is getting started at all that is intimidating: The blank white page staring at them waiting for their words. I’ve heard mystery writers especially tend to start by writing the end of the mystery, then work on how to get there. Others outline the whole story before they begin.
I would love to hear from others on the order in which you prefer to write their stories.