As I've mentioned before, I've been playing around with a possible story idea for this year's NaNoWriMo. It's the first time I've ever had to actually think about and unwind a story; usually the story idea grows in my the back of my mind until I can't take it anymore and realize that I need to write it out. This time, I have the background, but not much else. And I've been attempting those "interview with myself" moments while I'm drinking my morning coffee (and, at the recommendation of my husband, going out to our underused farmer's porch to do it). Ideas have been rethought, scrapped, revised... it's getting to the point that I might actually have a proper synopsis on my hands.
So the question is: do I let it simmer or do I attempt to get everything out on paper?
Every writer is different. Some love layouts; others love dropping their characters into a situation and figuring out alongside the protagonist how shit will sort out. Some people love making detailed character profiles; others just play it by ear. Given that the past three manuscripts were essentially ideas that hung out in the back of my mind until I was ready to write them out, I'm more of a "simmer" type of person. But the situation is completely different now. Now, I'm trying to actually think stuff up.
The best advice I've ever been given as a writer is also some of the vaguest: if you need to write an outline, write an outline. If you need to not, don't. If you have to think up the entire story arc first, do it. If you don't, don't.
Every writer, every situation, every storyline is going to be different, and it's okay to play it by ear or plan it out or whatever. And maybe I can let this count toward my, "do something writing-related that isn't this blog" -- a blog project that finishes in five days, holy shit.
Either way, I think I need to spend more time swinging on the bench on my farmer's porch, sipping on my coffee before the weather gets muggy. For pure literary reasons, of course.