The Meat of a New Story

If I’m not writing, I’m a wreck. Without the focus of plots, details, characters, settings, and motivations, I am at a loss. I’m exhausted after each book release, because it’s another baby out in the world and there are a lot of things that go into book promo, and I often feel the need to take a break. Watch some TV for a change. Maybe sleep in on a weekend until *gasp* 9 am.

My days are planned to the minute. I’m at work for 9 hours. I write on my lunch break, or read so I can keep up with what’s going on around our genre. An hour to work in the car and an hour home. Dinner. If my kids are at their dad’s, write from around 7 pm until I can’t keep my eyes open. Up the next day at 5:45 to do it again. Kid-free weekends = writing weekends. The nights I do have my kids, I don’t look at the book or the research or the emails so I can concentrate on my time with them. Read at bedtime until I can’t keep my eyes open. Lather, rinse, repeat.

A new book release throws off my routine, but I’m so fried I can’t immediately dive into the next one. I need a minute to regain ownership of my brain from the characters who ran it for however many months.

Luckily, this time, I’m ready to sink my teeth into the next one a lot faster than usual, and I have a lot of options to choose from off my plot bunny list. But I have a question to ask you, lovely readers. A story grabbed my heart and has been squeezing for months, but I have ignored it for reasons. It’s not one I thought I’d ever put to paper, so I didn’t bother to plot, no matter how compelling the characters and their scenario pulled at me. Now that I have given myself permission to write it, I have no plan. No plot, and no outline. I have a vague inkling, and it’s pretty nebulous. A thought occurred to me, but I want to pose to you a question.

I have always wanted to write a non-linear story, where the events happen out of order. The best example of this I can think of is The Time Traveler’s Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger. For a non-linear story to happen, and this idea to work the way I’m thinking, the past timeline and the present timeline would be happening simultaneously, either with alternating chapters (my preference) or flashbacks. I’ve seen, however, some people who don’t like this type of story. Thus, my question.

What’s your opinion on non-linear stories? If you don’t like them, or if you aren’t a fan of flashbacks, what are your reasons? If it’s something you haven’t had a problem with before, what are some things you like about those kinds of stories?