I spent a lot of time outlining the first book I ever wrote. I had every chapter mapped out, every plot twist planned, but when I began to write the novel the characters took over. Sounds psychotic but it’s true, they took on a life of their own and didn’t want to go where I had planned. At first, I tried to force them, but something about the action and dialogue seemed insincere. I finally gave up, and let them take me where they wanted. The story ended up being far from the outline I had originally designed, but a fantastic novel just the same.
When I began my second novel, I outlined like before, but once again the characters took over. This time, I didn’t fight it as much. I had successfully finished the first, so I had no doubt I could it again. My second novel was even more surprising. As you can guess, I no longer outline my stories. I have an idea for a beginning, and a faint inclination of where it might end. The characters do the rest, which makes it fun, I’m discovering just like a reader would the twists in my plots. Although, most professionals will tell you it’s difficult to create good flow without outlining, it doesn’t work for me. That’s the most important lesson of all if you want to write or create anything—approach it however it feels best to you, who cares if it’s unorthodox.