I never really got the knack of outlining books, but I keep trying to do it. Notebooks are filled with rough sketches and scene ideas, documents pile up on my hard drive. I’ll boot up scrivener and diligently create file cards that work out my plot, step by step, along with the details about what will happen in the scene.
The logic of outlining makes sense to me, and I have the kind of obsession with story structure that makes the planning and deconstruction fun, but it isn’t the way my story brain works. I blame it on too many years of running RPGs, where your approach to narrative is 30% replicating the feel of big, iconic genre moments and 70% responding to the immediate input of player choices that complicate things.
I work better when I’m in the middle of things, looking for hooks to latch onto and take things in a new direction.
And yet, it’s time to start writing a new novella, and I’m sitting down to plan. Filling notebooks, sketching out ideas, figuring it out as I go along. The goal is to be done by the end of July, ’cause I want to compress some work habits while figuring out how my writing will work while accounting for someone else’s schedule alongside my own.