Top 10 Reasons to Write Your Novel Out of Order

Great novels feel seamless. 

The plot is tight, the conflict compelling and believable, the characters jump off the page. Every detail feels organic, as though it couldn’t have been written in any other way than what we’re reading.

This impression, however, can be a little misleading. 

When we flip through published novels on bookstore shelves, it’s all too easy to imagine that the writer simply sat down and churned out the book from beginning to end. 

But this is actually not how most authors work.

Research comparing processes of novice and advanced writers finds that experienced writers tend to work on whatever is easiest for them at the moment, rather than forcing themselves to work in a specific order.

Many writers I’ve worked with who write out of sequence (especially those of us with ADHD) view their nonlinear approach as a sign of their own incompetence—when in actuality it’s a sign that they’re relatively advanced in their process.

So here’s the good news: Just because our readers will read the story linearly, from page one to The End, doesn’t mean we have to write it that way—it doesn’t mean our process has to be linear.

Writing out of sequence can be incredibly freeing, and there are a lot of advantages to this approach.

Here are my top ten reasons to write your novel out of order:

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