A couple of weeks ago, Pot and I had a discussion that boiled down to me needing an attitude adjustment about this whole plotting vs. pantsing issue. I was griping that plotting took away all the surprise and fun of writing for me–that I already knew what was going to happen.
Then last week happened. I made it through the last scene in Chapter 4 and both scenes in Chapter 5. None of them bore a whole lot of resemblance to the scenes I had outlined. I mean, yeah, they fit within the general parameters I’d written, but mostly they didn’t turn out at all like I planned. And I had a sort of light bulb moment about the whole thing.
Writing from an outline is like writing a sonnet or a haiku. It gives you the parameters for the medium, but beyond that you’re only restricted by your imagination.
It’s a freeing thought. I’ve spent all this time limiting myself, that I have explored the idea of what I can do within the boundaries I set for myself. It’s kind of like if I got trapped on a desert island and sat on a rock shaking my fist at God and wondering where a rescue boat is instead of exploring my surroundings and finding a way to make it work. That’s hardly productive.
So I’m trying to work on a new attitude–the idea that there’s freedom within the boundaries. And, of course, if something in the outline needs to be changed, it certainly can be. We’ll see how that goes.