The rain had been failing for longer than she could remember, longer than seemed possible. She sighed and watched the untended flowerbeds through the rain streaked window...
"...eureka, madam! You have done it! And what will you call your new invention?"
"I will name if for my husband, rest his soul. I shall call it 'The Umbrella'!"
How many writers start with 'Chapter 1' and write until 'The End'? Does anyone do that?
I've started a dozen or more stories over the years. I'd come up with a cool idea, jot down a few ideas, and then write up a few paragraphs. That was usually about as far as I would get. I didn't know how any of these stories would end, so I found myself getting lost.
When my current story started coming together for me, I went through my usual processes: I defined a few characters, came up with some cool ideas (a pretty good spin on time-travel, for example), and wrote down some chapter notes. I started floundering until I figured out the ending. It took me a few days, but I came up with a good ending and then stepped though all the details. I was thrilled! Within four or five weeks, I was up to 70,000 words (granted, most of them were not very good, but that is beside the point).
Two things really jumped out at me during this process:
1. How 'happy accidents' began filling in portions of the story. I couldn't tell you how many times I just wrote something down and found that it was pretty good. Not sure what you would call this, exactly. Instinct?
2. How action in later chapters began driving action and events in earlier chapters. Working backwards is a great technique for me.
What techniques work for you? Do you generally write things sequentially, backwards, or do you skip around? Do you outline first and build from that, or do you write things down and then outline? Do you rely on 'happy accidents', or do you write with more intention?