Charles asks: When I write from an outline, I get derailed with unplanned scenes, and when I write into the dark, I start questioning where my scenes are going. What do I do to get past this?
The Stand by Stephen King
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Charles, your question made me think that you would probably benefit a lot from following Dean Wesley Smith’s advice on writing into the dark. If you haven’t done it yet, go read his book on the subject, called “Writing into the Dark: How to Write a Novel without an Outline.”
And then if you want to go further into this direction and you’ve got the budget for it, I would strongly recommend his workshop “Writing into the Dark,” which could help you trust your creative voice more and learn to trust the whole process, without the need to figure out where everything is going.
Good luck with it, Charles, and thank you Dan for another great episode. Your answers are always very thoughtful and helpful.
I think the advice your question elicited was spot on, and thank you for asking it.
The one thing I think our host missed was that perhaps what you think you want to write, and what you may be good at writing, are slightly different. Let your inner author show you what it wants to do, and then sit back and judge it with a critical eye. Let your inner reader judge your work after your brain is done with spewing the words it thinks, and how it thinks them. Stop trying to force your voice into a box in which it’s unhappy.
You already know that there is no magic bullet. Keep going until you find what works for you. Happy Scribbling!