While sometimes words flow magically, most times it takes planning to get a project done.
There's the plotter vs. pantser theory, meaning do you do a full plot or "wing it," though most of us use some kind of outline. And often publishers require a synopsis, which requires you to fully outline the book, beginning to end.
You can waste a lot of time and energy just "free writing" if you don't have the story outlined or at least the main points outlined. Most times, your subconscious, your muse, or your brain, wherever those ideas come from, fills in the extras as you go along.
Of course, outlines aren't written in stone. Things change or you get a better idea as your'e writing. I've had some ideas for parts I'm stumped on or not happy with come in dreams. I really like when that happens!
Alternate Planning Ideas
Sometimes, though, you get stuck and the story won't do what you want or leads you in another direction. For a fun, crafty idea, I really like this photo-picture-theme Story Board Idea shared by Christina Freeburn on the Killer Hobbies blog. It has photos and a few lines synopsis. That's a fun way to cement your idea and indulge your creative-crafty side, too! The bonus is you can use it for an interesting promo, too! I might work on something like that for Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter (and #2... which is getting close to the end!) Here's one idea I had. Next time I'll make one with more photos:
I know others, like fellow writer and USA Today Bestselling author Jean Rabe, do super-detailed pages-long outlines of the whole book, based on her experience working with the big publishers who require every detail and chapter outlined. Hers are almost like writing the book itself. I've seen one, it's so detailed, it's almost scary! But when she starts writing, it's her "bible." It's all there - except, of course, for those little things you change along the way that just work better...
Oh, and psst - She has a fantastic mystery-thriller coming out soon set in Italy! Love the title - The Bone Shroud.... Check out the amazing cover and more about it at her website! Wait'll you see that!
* What's your favorite writing or planning ideas?