So, I've been thinking about my story, and suddenly I got inspiration for the continuation of the chapter (I'm not even sure what chapter it should be). So, basically, I ended with progressing 3 chapters at once in my head; Chapter 1 (which I'm currently writing), Chapter (expected) 3 and 5.

How should I handle this? I don't think this is just a distraction. The progression on the other chapters (I think) is valuable, and I'm sort of getting vision on how the story will end.

Should I write the first chapter first, and taking notes when the chapter 3 and 5 ideas come out? Or should I write whatever chapter is progressing faster in my mind?

Here's what it looks like:

(Chapter 1) Hmm... this gem can be an important object in Chapter 3 and 5. In Chapter 3, the character should take this gem and do the ritual, which turns out to be a failure in Chapter 5. To remedy this, the character should redo the ritual. Wait, there's only one gem. I should figure out how the character get two gems instead of one.

And so on, bouncing between chapters.

  • 3
    Take notes on everything and then continue writing in the right order. Writing things first that only come later can mess up your story because they might fit now, but they won't when you get there, because maybe your character has already developed and would handle the situation differently or say things differently.
    – B Altmann
    Commented Sep 28, 2017 at 11:23
  • dude, same. I think all you need to do is write all of your ideas down, and then see when they all fir together and write it like an outline. Commented Sep 28, 2017 at 16:46
  • @AspenRand that could work! Mind putting that as an answer so I can upvote?
    – Vylix
    Commented Sep 28, 2017 at 17:18
  • dude, same. I think all you need to do is write all of your ideas down, and then see when they all fit together and write it like an outline. Commented Sep 28, 2017 at 21:23
  • sure thing kiddo Commented Sep 28, 2017 at 21:23

4 Answers 4


Personally, I prefer to have an outline of the plot before I start writing, but not everyone works this way. Plenty of people just write the story and see where it goes.

However, I would argue that almost everyone has to spend a significant amount of time editing their first draft in order to make it into a polished finished product that is of a good enough quality to be presented to readers.

So, I would say write the first draft however you feel inspired to, and worry about patching up the plot holes and details later.

If you are inspired to write a particular chapter now, then write that one. After all, writing is usually a labour of love, so you should be enjoying it.

Otherwise if you force yourself to write in a particular order, then you might forget exciting things that are pumping around your brain now, and chances are you'll still have plenty to fix later in any case.


One thing I do is write what ever scene I have inspired in my head and put it as a side note labeled something like "Anger scene", "the meeting", things like that so I know what those notes are generally about. Then as I write, and I get to a point where one of those scenes in my notes may apply, I go back and read it. See if I can still make it work with how the story progressed. If I do, I add it in, if not, it's good source material for a future scene that might spark ideas.

I also do this when I am going through emotions. What's one of the best ways for a reader to feel what your MC is feeling? To have true emotions placed with the character. One of the best ways I found to do this is when I am angry, I write what I would do, say, I would murder that person on paper. Write it all out. Now, when you need an angry scene, there it is with true raw emotions that you can then add into your piece.

I totally understand how you feel. Often, I too am sitting there writing a chapter but then get ideas for a chapter way later in the book. I just write those ideas in a note so I don't lose em and revisit as needed.


It sounds like you write much like I do, discovering the story as you go.

My approach is to put notes, as I think of them, at the bottom of whatever I am writing, and carry them forward. By "notes" I may mean half a page for a note, as much explanation as needed for what occurred to me (and where: in Chapter 3, or in a particular scene title, or page number, or keyword so I can find what I was writing when I thought it, and review that).

some of my notes are for revisions to earlier writing: Originally my characters were heading east. I only had a roughly northern location for them in mind, so no particular destination; but in writing I realize a good destination would be Albany. So my note is to revise and get more specific about their locale. Plus they know they are heading for Albany and why, I don't need to add that info to anything they say or do, (if it wasn't important information when I wrote it, it isn't important to add now) but I need to make sure I don't have them say or do anything contradictory to it. Then I can continue with my currently imagined scene and have it on my task list to go revise later.

Keep writing in order. At each story break (new chapter, beginning a new movement) review your notes; all of them. Delete what no longer applies, modify notes or previous writing as needed. Then start writing a new scene.

If you keep chapters in their own files, cut the notes from a finished chapter and paste them at the top of the next chapter. By the time you finish, there should be no notes!


I don't know if this is good writing practice, but I find writing whatever comes to mind as the only way for me to get start writing a novel. Rather than chapters I start with scenes or events I plan to include in the novel. Then I start forming the chapters after a dozen or so scenes are written. Good Luck.

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