Another One Bites the Dust
My two favorite words as an author are "The End." Aaaah. Almost as good as sex. Definitely better than wine or any other alcoholic beverage. I have written those lovely two words recently as I finished my new novel. It is scheduled to be released in June through Amazon.
I am already plotting my next novel, so that proves there is no rest for the weary. But that is the bane of any writer. The plots swim in your head. Some turn out great and some never quite pan out. They seemed good, but once you wrestle them into submission, you realize they simply aren't substantial enough to keep. The one I am plotting now is a keeper. I have the title, the main characters, and most of the outline done.
I like to plot and outline before I tackle the actual writing of a novel. Some writers prefer to wing it. I've tried that, but it seemed to waste a lot of time. I would write myself into a corner and have to stop all forward motion and figure out a way to get out of it or even scrap a chapter or two and take the novel in a different direction. I'd rather solve all those problems in an outline instead of as I'm trying to actually write the story and flesh out the characters. Even with a great outline, I can run into bits of trouble and sometimes I have to stop my progress to do some research.
To each his own, I say. If you want to plot as you go and wonder, What happens next? then more power to you. As for me, I like control when I write. I need to know where I'm going and how I'm going to get there. I have enough surprises, what with characters popping off and saying things I didn't plan on or even evolving into people I didn't envision. That's the joy of writing -- when the story and the characters become strong enough to take over and you hold on the ride of your life.