Writing in reverse

I really dislike writing action scenes. I love action, but the idea of blocking out an action scene and writing it can be overwhelmingly daunting, particularly when you have more than two or three of your characters involved. The last action scene I had to write for By the Fates, Fought involved eighteen different characters (albeit 8 of them were minor). I stared at the screen for hours. I started the scene two or three times. I thought about it. I went to bed and tried to see it. I went for a run and tried to see it. I talked it out (with myself). Nothing was working.

But then the other morning, my alarm went off and when I hit snooze, I could see the last moments of the scene. It was something. So I sat down and wrote it out. It was a single paragraph. That’s it. I went back to the beginning of the scene and tried again. Nothing. So I went back to that paragraph. Then I wrote the sentence before. Then the five sentences before that. Then two paragraphs before that.

On and on and on until finally, I’d written the whole damn scene. Backwards. I was amazed how well that worked. I need to sit down and go through it in the right order to make sure that I’ve got everything, but working backwards really helped me see where each part of the scene needed to end up so I knew what needed to happen immediately before. I had to have Raven in a corner of a room. So how did he get there? Well, he was pushed. Who pushed him? Well, I’ve got six bad guys to choose from. Let’s pick one. All right, so how did said bad guy know he was there. Well, he was spelling another of them. And on, and on, and on. Before I knew it, I was writing the first line over again and it worked.

Just one more tool to stick in my writer’s toolbox.


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