Use an outline

This is, I know, anathema to many writers. Some believe it makes the process of writing mechanical. Some think it removes the element of discovery from the writing process.

But I've been using outlines since I started. I've only written one book without one (Sympathy for the Devil ) and I haven't found outlines at all restraining. Remember that an outline is only a map. If you find some unmarked side roads you want to explore once you're moving well, explore them. If you discover an entirely different route than the one you mapped out, take it. My finished books only bear passing resemblance to the novels that come from them . . . but the outline allows me to check from time to time to make sure my new route will still get me to my chosen destination.

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