Every author has their own way of writing. Jennifer Crusie creates dioramas. Anyone who has visited her web page/blog has seen examples of what she creates in order to understand her characters and her storyline. Iris Johansen has been said to just "sit down and write". Lee Child is quoted as saying "I never outline. I try to feel the same excitement that I hope the reader will: never knowing what comes on the next page"; while Val McDermid says "I'm a ferocious outliner. I can't begin a book unless I know where it's going and how it gets there." Janet Evanovich says she creates a timeline and then keeps her story straight by storyboarding.
Almost every single "How To Write" book says you should have an outline. How To Write Romance for Dummies defines an outline as "...the road map you use as you write. It's a document-in-progress...” where as in Writing Romance by Vanessa Grant says "Some published authors begin writing without much idea of where the story is going, what will happen, or even who the characters are...Other writers know every detail before Chapter 1 begins. Most of us fall somewhere in between these two extremes..."
So how do you know which style is right for you? I have no idea, but what I'm learning about me is this; I can start a story off strong without an outline but once the build up is over and I have to come up with the middle of the story, I'm lost. I’ve read on other blogs that the middle is the hardest part to write and I couldn’t agree more. I can see the movie montage in my head, music and all, but it’s not helping me get it down on paper. So I’ve gone back to the drawing board. I’ve pulled out my entire ‘how to’ collection. How to: Craft Scenes, Create Plot, Write and Sell Your Mystery Novel. I’ve got them all sitting here just starring at me. Daring me to come up with something brilliant. Is it wrong that I feel pressure from the ‘how to’ books? So I’m coming to all of you, my brilliant published and unpublished friends. How do you write? How do you get past the sticky middle part? Any and all advice is accepted here.
Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example ~ Mark Twain
UPDATE: Check out Murder She Writes, Toni Causey is talking about how she starts a new book. Coincidence? Maybe.