As anyone who reads my status updates or blog posts knows, I’m an outliner. I tend to know how the whole book is going to go by the time I start writing. I write an outline, fill in the details and then follow it.
Except…when I don’t.
Yesterday* I got almost nothing done because I didn’t like the way a scene I’d written the day before tasted. It felt like there was something structurally wrong. So, before going to sleep I spent some time mentally going over the scene and looking for different ways to deal with it.
I ended up completely removing a major character from the scene and that has a series of cascading ramifications for the next two chapters. The new version is better. So, I changed the outline for those chapters and everything else that hinges off them. Then I went in and reset the foreshadowing to give the new stuff a better lead in.
If something isn’t working, don’t be afraid to change your mind and do something else that does. An outline is just a tool. So is any method you might use to envision the story in advance. Don’t get too tied to your tools.
*Dec 4th 2008