John Corwin wrote an interesting blog post on his way of creating a new book. Definite food for thought. He asks at the end which other writers use the method he outlined. All I can answer is that I wish I was that organized.
In one imagined future, (in which I sit in my lush 50 room mansion, surrounded by avaricious decadence) I can see some young reporter asking me if my book series were all planned out in one master tome. So I can't lie later on and say that yes, everything was mapped out way in advance, (much like JK Rowling claims) I'll just say right here and now....are you freaking kidding me?
No, sadly that just doesn't work with me. I've tried the whole story outline thing before. I just can't do it without getting bored and going off on some idiotic tangent. I remember one outline I tried a few years back, when I made an abortive attempt to get back into writing. It went something like this:
-Hero wakes up in a land full of demons
-Hero dies horribly....fuck you, future Rick!
Like I said, it just doesn't work for me. I tend to be far too amused by the prospect of annoying my future self than in doing that particular job properly. So much so, that I dread the thought of time machines being invented during my lifetime in that I will most likely wake up one day remembering many many past beatings at my own hands.
My writing process is a bit more basic. (or lazy, if you don't want to mince words) Most of my stories are born much like a college road trip: I know where I am. I kinda know where I want to go. I have only the vaguest idea of how I'm going to get there. Oh well, let's hop in the car and see where the road takes us!
The chaos of doing things this way is close to maddening. However, it's a whole lot of fun as often times my characters wind up doing things that surprise the hell out of me. There are whole sections in Bill The Vampire that were birthed this way. Some examples:
There's one scene in a gym that's pure mental diarrhea. I had no idea where they were going with that dialogue when I started it, but as I wrote it I imagined the dialogue in my head and just put down what the voices told me to. When I went back to reread it, I was both horrified and amused to all hell by what had come out.
Likewise, the trip up north our characters take during the story. I had no idea nor intention for that happening until it actually did. Fortunately, when it was all over it both made sense for them to do so as well as allowed me to expand upon their world a little more. Nothing worse than pumping out thousands of words that belong in a completely different story. That makes editor Rick angry and want to wait for that time machine so he can go back and SMASH!
So that's how I do things and will keep doing it until it no longer works for me. For right now, it does work. In fact, I've just recently started my second foray into Bill's world. I think I know where I want to go...sorta. Hopefully people will enjoy the first one and want to hop back into that car with me. Who knows what sights we'll see along the way? Right now, even I don't, and damn that's exciting.