I write my stories out of order.
Like, completely out of order.
Many times, the ending or penultimate scenes will be some of the earliest I write.
(For example, the very first scene I ever wrote for my on-submission manuscript is now Chapter 8.)
And I'm a pantser.
This confuses a lot of people. If I am a pantser, and consequently don't know where the story is going or how it gets there, how can I possibly write ending scenes before beginning ones?
See, the thing is, drafting is the absolute hardest part of the writing process for me. Something about getting new words out is grueling.
The only way it's not grueling - and, in fact, the way that I find myself able to fly through the words, optimally pulling 5,000-7,000 in a day - is by "seeing" a scene in my head, or "hearing" a conversation between two characters, and kind of channeling those things into words. (Sometimes I even type with my eyes closed so that I can "see" or "hear" better.)
Most often those scenes that I "see" or "hear" consist of one of two things:
1. Intense drama
2. Kissing or other sexy stuff
It is in these scenes that the characters are most emotionally invested in what's going on. When a character is at the highest or lowest point of her emotional arc, that's when I can "hear" her most clearly, and so those are the scenes I tend to write first.
I mean, seriously. Once you have this picture in your head, how could you NOT write that scene first?
Lately, I've been drawing up a beat sheet to get a very rough idea of the plot, so I'll plug these early-written scenes into whatever plot point they go with, and then write the other scenes I need to fill in the rest of the book.
What this essentially creates is a skeleton of a novel built around the characters' emotional arcs.
So, I think that what all this means is that I like to write character-driven stories, which is why this writing-out-of-order method works for me.
Now that I think about it, I'm pretty sure I'm just lazy as all get-out.
BUT STILL. I've written three books in two years and I'm going on a fourth, so it works for me.
(And, let's not forget: a famous out-of-orderer is Stephenie Meyer. She wrote the scene where Bella and Edward canoodle in that field of flowers before she wrote anything else. So...let's hope that the whole method works just as well for me as it did for her.)
What about you, sweet writerly-type readers? Do you draft out of order, or do you have to draft in the first-scenes-first method?