Okay, first of all, I am a “beginning to end” writer. I know there are a fair number of people out there who write scenes in whatever order they come, and then put everything together at the end. And that’s a perfectly valid way to write a novel. My friend Robin D. Owens writes that way.
I can’t, because my scenes don’t come in “whatever” order. This happens first. And because that happened, then something else happens and the characters react this way–everything builds on what came before. However, sometimes I do realize while I’m writing away, that I should have written a scene that happened earlier. And most of the time, I will stop and go write that scene before I go on, because I can’t really go on until I know what’s going on in that scene.
In the Victorian steampunk book I’m currently working on, I realized somewhere in Chapter 5 that I really ought to write a new series of scenes about what’s happening in Paris while my hero and heroine are busy in Transylvania. So, twice, I had to pause in the middle of the action and go back and write a scene that I’d forgotten to write when I came to the proper place for it, and write about Paris.
Today (and I’m really proud of myself for it), I switched locales to Paris right when I needed to switch. Mostly it was because things were getting dicey with my hero, and I had no clue what would happen next. Or, I knew what needed to happen, but I wasn’t exactly sure how my heroine was going to pull it off. So, I went to Paris and wrote about that. It worked. I kept writing even though I didn’t know where I was going.
Of course, I still have to figure out what my heroine is going to do, but… hopefully, when I sit down and write, it will come.
8 pages today, so far.