The Chicken or the Egg: Which Type of Writer Are You?

A page of a screenplay I wrote in Latin based ...
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After finishing rewrites on a script I started in on my novel structure.  As I was almost asleep the other night a character from a novel said something and I had a brief dialogue to write down.  You do keep a notebook by your bed, right?

The next morning as I was integrating the brief dialogue into the story as an end of chapter tease I was struck by the difference in my process between writing fiction and writing a screenplay.

For the screenplay, I write out the scene sequence according to the structure.  I know what I want to accomplish in each scene.  As I begin to write I really don’t know what the characters are going to say; one character speaks and then everything follows to the end of the scene.

For fiction, snippets of dialogue come to me.  I can build an entire scene around a piece of dialogue.

I do not understand what the difference is but it is noticeable.

How do you write?  Do the characters speak and then you write a scene around the dialogue?  Or do you know the scene and fit the dialogue to what happens in the scene?  Is it a mixture?

I’m curious?  Anyone else notice a difference?

Post your response in the comment section.

4 thoughts on “The Chicken or the Egg: Which Type of Writer Are You?

  1. I’m a screenwriter, and I concur. I write the scene sequences based on structure. On the other hand, sometimes an idea pops up (often in a dream) for a scene to plug into a certain section that can possibly send the story in a whole new direction. If it does, of course, it’s a hassle, as the outline needs to be rewritten accordingly, but much like the dialogue between characters, the story can sometimes “write itself” if you have a good flow.


  2. This is also referred to as the forest vs. the tree method. Personally, I believe that allowing the characters to speak and act as they should is the way to go. I guess that makes me, a writer. 🙂

    It’s also the DC vs. Marvel way of creating comic books. I prefer full script, actually. As screenplays aren’t meant to be read but by a select few, it follows that writing visually is the best style, otherwise, those that are needed to turn the words into pictures won’t know what they’re doing….

    If not of this makes sense, checkout my blog, where there won’t be an explanation there, either. 🙂


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