Order in which I wrote Wind Age

I was looking through my notebook yesterday, and found the first drafts of the first scenes of Wind Age. The scene that came, in third person, to start the whole thing, takes up a few pages; and then on the first page after it comes the first-person scene which is now the beginning. I remember writing the original first scene, but not the other one. That is, I remember where I was and what I was doing for the former, but with the latter all those details have slipped my mind, and I only remember my excitement at hearing Alfhild’s voice and finally getting into this thing.

Some people write the story in order from beginning to end, starting with the opening scene and ending with the end. Others start somewhere, possibly in the middle, and work on whatever scene has their interest at the time. I haven’t developed a method yet. It depends on the story.

Wind Age started with three scenes important to the plot, and then afterward I filled in the things around them. The two “first scenes” came first, of course, and then the baptism scene. I wrote the climax as soon as I had the idea for it, but refused to write the ending scene until I had written everything else. I couldn’t show anybody’s triumph properly unless I knew everything they’d gone through to get to that point.

I also did my research as I went along, so the later a scene was written, the more accurate it was likely to be. My first round of revisions took care of some of that, but even letting it sit for six weeks isn’t quite the same as having fresh eyes to look at it. My betas have noticed lots of things — like the scene where I used sceatta, penny, and copper to refer to the same coin, without knowing that copper coins weren’t period. But that’s what they’re for.

The organization may change yet again, if I swap scenes around so that the “original first scene” becomes the first scene again, and everything from Part I becomes backstory. I did try to do it that way, only ended up having to cram far too much into backstory, without which the story wouldn’t have made sense, so I took the risk of having the story start with the slow-moving childhood years. For most of us, unless we’re the heroes of typical fantasy, not a whole lot seems to happen when you’re a child, and you don’t really notice until afterward.


About Nolie Alcarturiel

Creative Writing major and Philosophy minor, contemplating a Master's degree in Medieval History. I enjoy practically anything to do with medieval history, including the domestic arts, with an especial emphasis on the Anglo-Saxon Era. In my spare time I read endlessly, do medieval living-history, hold philosophical debates at the drop of a hat, and write books on even slighter provocation.
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5 Responses to Order in which I wrote Wind Age

  1. I love what you said about not being able to show someone’s triumph until you know what they’ve gone through! It’s so true. That’s one of the reasons I don’t plan the endings of my books until I’ve started writing the first draft, really gotten into my character’s heads, and felt what they would actually do. I believe in being honest with your story, and writing it truthfully. 🙂
    It was cool to learn a bit about your process! 😀


    • Same here. I can’t plot where anybody ends up until I know whether it would be in keeping with their characters, and I can’t know that until I know who they are and how they interact with each other. I rarely ‘plot’ anything at all, but even when I do partially plot something, the ending has to grow out of it naturally. It can make for weak endings sometimes because I haven’t thought through them much, though. Being honest and truthful is certainly important. How many have you written?

      Oh thanks! Did you just stumble across my blog, or have you been reading for a while? (If that’s the case, don’t feel bashful about being a “stalker”. I do that with a lot of blogs myself.)


  2. thegermangolux says:

    What do you think of those stories that start with the end, work back to the beginning, and end right after the climax? I’m not remembering a specific example, but you’ve run across stories like that, right?


    • I’ve heard of the idea. You lose the suspense of not knowing what happens next, but if you’re good at it, you can use other ways of keeping the reader interested. I haven’t tried any myself yet. By “What do you think of them?” do you mean, do I think of them as in the class of prose poems or free verse?


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