What are you more comfortable with — routine and planning, or laissez-faire spontaneity?
Oh my word, my absolute nightmare would be a friend arriving on my doorstep one day and saying, “Want to go on an adventure?”
Although, yes, an adventure sounds fun, I’d need to know what kind of adventure we’re dealing with here. What sort of shoes do I need to wear? Shall I bring a coat? Does this adventure involve food in any way, because otherwise I’ll need to pack some sandwiches and a bag of crisps. Adventuring can be hungry work – just ask any Hobbit.
What time does the adventure start, and when do you anticipate it ending? I’m only asking because I have to feed the cat, or he gets a bit pointed as to where he chooses to sharpen his claws. Are we driving to the adventure? If so, who is doing the driving? I need to pre-plan my routes in advance, and, if possible, do a dry-run on finding the destination so I don’t get panicked when driving. Is there enough petrol in the car? Do I need to check the oil and water before starting out, or is the adventure local?
And so on, and so forth…
This applies to my writing style as well. I look in horror at Facebook posts by other authors who casually mention that they’ve got no idea about what’s going to happen in their stories and that they’re letting their characters determine the plot.
I peer out from behind my stack of research books, my hand-drawn family trees and my copious reams of chapter plans and boggle at those who don’t seem to worry that THEY DON’T KNOW WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN IN THEIR OWN STORY. Yes, that’s right: they’re actively creating a world full of people and places and (in my particular fictional niche) inventive reasons why a person needs a spanking, and yet they don’t feel the need to think about what will occur in the end!
That just blows my mind – I have no idea how they can work like that! Obviously it’s not a problem for them, they’re all well respected writers in the genre, but…winging it?
Shudder. Not for me!