I am a planner. I like to have everything laid out, decided in advanced, researched to the extreme. Scheduled. I double check everything. Then I triple check.
But I am also a pantser. Having created my Slow Loris Conservation presentation for class – having planned out what I was going to say for each slide – when it came time to present I ignored my plans completely. I mean, sure, I hit all the same points, in mostly the same order, but it was TOTALLY DIFFERENT from what I had practiced.
When I joined the Saucy Ink group, I dreamed up plots for my story. Once I had one I was happy with, I outlined. Down to almost the very last detail.
Then I started writing. And ignored my outline completely.
I don’t mean “sort-of” ignored, like I still hit the basic plot points but maybe in one place they did something a little different. I mean ignored almost entirely.
Things the original outline had in common with the first draft of the story: A female protagonist. A male protagonist. A plot that needed to be stopped (it was a different plot, though).
A.k.a. not a whole lot.
So what have I learned from these experiences? Well, I know I need to plan. I also know I need to make less detailed plans than my brain thinks I need. Because I know that if I get too detailed, I will deviate. Entirely. And while my novel will probably follow a bit closer to the outline than “The Water-Witch” did, mostly because I feel better about its nascent plot than I did about my story’s, there will be variation. There will be exploration. There will be a little bit of chaos.
And I’m telling you this because….it was a realization integral to my decision to start writing Princess. I have a decent foundation, which I will expand on as I go. Yes, worldbuilding-as-I-go… usually not a good strategy, but for me it works. I come up with my best ideas in the middle of sentences.
It will likely lead to a fair amount of rewriting. That’s okay. I’m fine with it, because that’s actually the way I work best. Get something down on paper, then go and fix it.
I’ve got a slightly-more-detailed-than-basic, scene-by-scene plot outline. I’ve nailed down the magic system. I have a good grasp on some relevant areas of backstory. Now it’s time to write.