I don’t plan out my books.
I mean, at a basic level I do. I know who the characters are. I know some things about the world they live in and what they’re trying to do. But how they do it? What happens along the way? Anyone’s guess.
This is both a help and a hindrance. Sometimes, it allows me the freedom to improvise as I write and come up with interesting directions for the story to go. Other times, I write myself into a knot and find my characters trapped in illogical scenarios for which there is no escape.
That’s what happened to me over the weekend. I had reached a point in my story where I had to sit back and say to myself, “I have no goddamn idea where these people are going or why.”
So I went back home. I got an old-fashioned pen and paper, and I hashed it out.
It took me about an hour, but when I finally put the pen down, I had a good idea where my various storylines were going, the motivations of some secondary characters that flushed out their purpose for being in the story at all, and outlined much of the rest of the book.
Sometimes you have to go backwards to move forward. You have to stop to finish the journey.