Starting a new novel gives me chills and fevers; okay–too much drama, but I always flounder a bit and start worrying about details that shouldn’t even matter, which is why I’ve taken to outlining, something I didn’t used to do because it was too much work. But I’ve discovered that outlining a novel doesn’t mean my heart isn’t free to pursue its impulses. An outline is simply a map to where I want to go.
Now I combine both outlining and impulse. I often start writing before outlining, and the outline won’t be thorough or complete, it’ll be no more than a wandering ahead, a sketchy path, a piece of what I know about the story. Waiting for inspiration means no writing will be done. Inspiration comes most often in the writing and that is where creative impulse and imagination take over.
Right now I’m preparing for NANO. I’ve got story ideas and a handful of characters. Have I got a plot? Oh hell no. No plot, no problem! But still I have outlined as much as I can, laid out the major action in a beat sheet containing the scenes that create the story. The beat sheet is my outline, skeletal as it is, and will get me started on that long road to the end of November, day by day.