I’m a planner. Mostly.
I like the structure of a plan, but I don’t get upset when things don’t go awry.
Most of the time, anyway.
For example, every Monday morning I plan out a week’s worth of dinners, but I’m okay with the idea of my husband deciding to grill steaks or (better yet) take me out to dinner.
Even in my writing life, I only vaguely plan. When I sit down to write, I know the crime, the victim, and the perpetrator. I know how the crime was committed, and I usually have a pretty good idea of why the crime was committed. How the perpetrator will be caught, however, remains a mystery to me until closer to the end of writing the book.
There are true advantages, I think, to writing this way. I can allow my characters to grow as the story progresses. If a red herring presents itself, I don’t need to feel guilty about following that lead. I don’t accidentally create a formula for my mysteries that bores readers. (At least, I hope not!)
However, right now I’m struggling with a huge disadvantage to my minimal planning. I had someone show up who, frankly, I wasn’t prepared for. Not even a little bit. This up-until-now minor character had been wandering contently in the background, or so I thought. She had been talked about, but not talked to. Perhaps she took offense to her status. Perhaps she was tired of being discussed. Perhaps she can add something to the mystery.
Whatever the reason, I have this new voice, with seemingly new information, to add to the story. I think this new voice adds to the storyline, it just wasn’t something I was expecting. I’m hoping readers won’t expect it either.
I’ve thought about planning things more. I just can’t do it. Mostly because when things don’t go the way I plan them, I get frustrated. Like “stomp around and throw a tantrum” frustrated. Well, maybe not that bad…
I guess it doesn’t matter. I’ve been an “outline planner” for my entire life, and I don’t think I’m going to change after 40-plus years.
What about you? Are you a “whatever will be, will be” kinda person? What happens when you’re forced to plan??? Or do you plan every detail of your life? Then what do you do when your plans fall apart? I really want to know!