I’ve been a discovery writer all my life — even the crap I wrote as a kid, whether for my own enjoyment or for school, was all by the seat of my pants. It wasn’t until recently (well, in the past couple of years) that I read about outlining your work to help you stay organized. I fully embrace anything to keep me organized — as a creative person, I’m pretty much not-organized. Well, for my day-job, I have to be, so maybe that’s forced a little of that back into my writing — but I’m getting ahead of myself.
So — my book, recently published, was a total seat-of-my-pants sort of thing. I had written myself into a corner, I set it aside, life got in the way for a long time, then when I finally sat back down to keep writing, I couldn’t remember where I wanted to go. So, discovery sometimes sucks. I basically ended up re-writing the story from the beginning. Which wasn’t a bad thing when all was said and done as I think it became a stronger story.
This weekend I had the chance to catch up with my brother, who also writes, but has yet to publish anything. He’s a total discovery writer and we debated the merits of outlining versus seat-of-the-pants. He contends he’d get bored if he outlined everything. I see his point, but then again, I think there has to be a road-map — so you don’t get lost, if I can stretch the analogy a bit further.
I’ve come to the conclusion I may be a tweener — I like to see where things take me, but I do want to have a map telling me where I want to go. I’m going to try my road map in my next project and see how that works.
I’d love to hear how others do this — total outlining, total discovery or some place in between? Let me know in the comments.