Reverse Writing by Jena Galifany

Reverse Writing – by Jena Galifany

Many writers share how they write in patchwork, or state that they can only write in chronological order. They begin with a beginning and maybe an end, perhaps a few bits in the middle. Plotting is used… or not. No pattern is right or wrong. It only matters what works for you as a writer. As long as you have the strong beginning, a middle that does not sag, and an ending that leaves the reader satisfied by tying up all the loose ends—or at least most of them. For me, the only way I can do that is by reverse writing.  

I find my characters roaming around in my head. I’m never quite sure where they come from but they show up one day with their attitudes, their tremendous egos, and their baggage, what ever that may consist of. We face off on a field of blank screen in a word program and we wrestle for some time, getting to know each other and learning how the other one thinks. This can take a day, a week or a month. Sometimes longer but it is a necessary step for me before I toss that character into a climactic ending right off the bat. 

I know where I want that character or his/her situation to end up. That is my starting point. Example: in the ShadowsForge series published by Whiskey Creek Press, I wrote Three Times a Hero, knowing that Ty Synclair would say the words, “I wrote it.”  Okay. What did he write? Well, he’s a bass player so it should probably be a song. Why would he tell someone he wrote it? If he was well known, she (for a romance it would need to be a romantic interest) should know who he is and probably know that he wrote it. But if she didn’t know who he was… why wouldn’t she recognize him? She couldn’t see him. Why not? Blind. Okay, that’s workable. Was she always blind? No. Would she continue to be blind? I’d rather not.  So… why is she temporarily blind? Head injury. From what? Car accident.  

I could go on but I think you get the idea.  I like to know why or how things happen or why they are the way they are. In the theater, I think that is called method acting.  So, I’m a method writer, I would suppose.  I write by starting at the end and planning backward. It seems to work better for me that way.  

I’ve tried to write chronologically but I always get off on rabbit trails and have difficulty getting back to where I should be.  I gave that up after I wrote my orphaned dark romance, Her Perfect Man. It ended up choppy, in my opinion. It was published but the publisher closed their doors for personal reasons in November 2007. It is a blessing, though, because I now have the opportunity to rework it and fix what I noticed after it was published. 

I’ve been blessed in my writing so far and I hope that the trend continues into the coming years. The best way I can see to have continued success is to keep writing… backward. 


Jena Galifany

ShadowsForge Series – Available at Whiskey Creek  

9 Responses to Reverse Writing by Jena Galifany

  1. Jena Galifany

    As they say, it looks good on paper!


  2. mammakim

    I am a backwards person as well. LOL But whatever works for everyone is the best.

  3. Jena Galifany

    I’m sorry. I was trying to make it make sense. =( I suppose as long as you enjoy the reading, that’s the important part, right? I hope… =

    Hugzzz back to you,

  4. Lisa

    Good thing I leave the writting up to the writer just gotten confused about it all. (G)

  5. Jenyfer Matthews

    Hmmm…never heard it described this way before but I do some of this myself. I pretty much let the characters churn around in my mind for a time, getting to know them, who they are, and the major plot points, particularly where I want them to end up – and then I sit down and write it chronologically! Whatever works in the end, right?

  6. Jena Galifany

    Thank you for your kind words. I enjoy knowing that someone found pleasure in my writing. My mother always said I did things backward but it works for me.

    If it weren’t for you “strictly” readers, there would be no purpose for writers! I appreciate you!

    Thank you for your comment.

  7. Little Lamb Lost

    The ShadowsForge series is wonderful and I really enjoyed learning about how you went about writing your stories. Since I am strictly a reader, I don’t know if your method is at all common but it certainly seems to work!

  8. Jena Galifany

    It keeps the action more realistic in my mind if I know what caused things to go the way they are going.

    Thanks for commenting!

  9. Ayreann

    Jena, I think I like the idea of reverse writing, or method writing as you put it. I’d be off on the same tracks you were trying to figure out the whys and wherefores of something. Wouldn’t matter if it was a side-point having to do with a character, plot or otherwise, I’d just have to know how it happened. *LOL*

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