Throwing away the draft

In writing, as in life, sometimes things happen that you don’t expect. You can draft and draft and draft, and prepare an outline of your novel that has every tiny little bit of plot mapped out to the nth degree, but if you’re not willing to toss all that aside, to let things go where they want to go, and let scenes play out as you never imagined they might, then I think you’re crippling yourself as a writer.
I could throw a ton of metaphors out there for you on this. It’s like when you’ve fully planned out your day, and each hour is carefully scheduled, but the real fun and adventure is in allowing yourself to disregard the calendar, and spend an extra hour playing at the park, or talking with an old friend, or even sleeping. Ah sleep.
You may hear other writers talking about their characters as if they’re real people — “I wanted to write him out of this scene, but Spencer insisted he remain in.” — and you may think they’re crazy. But all they’re doing is allowing the momentum of the writing to carry the day, not the outline.
So go ahead — draft an outline and follow it, but let yourself have fun along the way, see where that takes you — hopefully somewhere fun, and not the emergency room!

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