When I start to write, I don’t have any plan at all. I just wait for the story to come. I don’t choose what kind of story it is or what’s going to happen. – Haruki Murakami
Haruki Murakami is the author of international bestsellers, Norwegian Wood, Kafka on the Shore, and The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle known for experimental writing and narrators who deal with love, isolation, and fantastical experiences.
Murakami is not the only proclaimed writer to prefer little to no story planning, George R R Martin (author of A Song of Snow and Ice, later on released by HBO as series Game of Thrones) calls himself a writer of the gardener variety; one who has a general idea of the seed of the story, what genre it is, but let’s it grow mostly untamed and explored during growth. Architect writers are their opposites. They build a story knowing the blueprints of the plot, the family tree, flaws of each character, and a likely ending. Writers can typically be divided into two categories; those who outline and those who do not. I am in the latter group. For me, creativity flows more fluidly when it is not in the constraints of an outline and needing to know how the story is going to end. Multiple outlines for dystopian science fiction stories sit in my writing desk drawer, and although they are great in theory, they have amounted to nothing more than hours spent note taking rather than writing the story. Opening a blank page of a word doc or notebook can be daunting, but writing without a plan or desired ending takes a lot of that pressure off and can end in much more productive writing sessions.
Do you write outlines or no? Why does this practice work for you?