Outlining Versus Winging It Redux

So, in a recent post I discussed the differences between plotting out a novel in its entirety and going with the flow to see where the story takes you. At the time I was planning to try detailed outlining, thinking it might save me from the dreaded “shitty first draft” by replacing it with the “shitty first outline.” My reasoning being it would be easier to fix an outline than a draft.

Well, after two weeks of frustration, I’m admitting defeat. I am not an outliner. I went around in circles on the same plot points. Which isn’t to say the experiment was a total loss, in fact I have a rough outline for the next two novels of The Gateway Series, but I was simply unable to move beyond a certain point.

Yesterday I sat down for a long day of writing, and using the notes I’d made, banged out over 2500 words. What seems to work for me is to have a general plot sketch and then let the story evolve as I go. Before I write each scene I plot out what needs to happen in the scene and what the character motivations are, their goals, etc. So I’m essentially outlining, but I can only get so far ahead of myself. I’m reminded of this quote:

“It’s like driving a car at night. You never see further than your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”        ~E.L. Doctorow

Shitty first draft, here I come!