(A/N: I wrote this post Monday night, but didn’t get around to posting it until now. Forgive me! I’ll probably post something else at some point today.
I’m finishing up Love this week, and I’m super excited! Love is my pet project–the novel I’ve been working on for years. I’ve known the characters for forever, and it’s the first novel in my fantasy/adventure/YA series (which does not yet have a name). In other words, the pride of my writer’s eyes!
Now, while planning this novel, I didn’t set down any specific details about certain chapters. I knew what needed to happen, yes, but I didn’t know how the characters would get there. For instance, I knew that Jeline needed to get from telling Kahil about Shar’s plans to Shar setting a wedding date. There was another scene in between, but I decided to cut it since a prior scene served the same purpose.
At any rate, I had no idea how to get from the first even to the second event when I made the outline. But when I began the Shar Sets A Wedding Date scene, I started with a war meeting on a whim. The war council logically follows from the elves’ position on the brink of an uprising, and I managed to get a funny sequence out of it with Jeline watching the elves’ various occupations when they were supposed to be listening to the current speaker. This led to watching Shar, which led to the part where he needed to set a wedding date. Without giving away any spoilers, this scene worked out perfectly–all because I went out on a limb and followed my instincts.
I think you can get a lot out of writing by following your instincts, even if you’re a “stick to the outline” sort of writer. I’m not talking about pure pantsing, where you don’t plan at all. I’m talking about starting a scene the way your brain tells you to, not the way your outline says it should start. Maybe add an extra scene and see where it takes you. If you don’t like it, there’s always rewriting and editing and cutting away unnecessary bits.
You never know what you might come up with!
When have you followed your instincts and come out with a brilliant scene or transition? I’d love to hear your stories!