I have a basic outline of the story decided before I begin writing. Before I start writing the story, I will always have a couple of crucial things agreed on that will determine the overall direction of the story:
- Who the MC is at the beginning, and who they need to be at the end.
- The central conflict, and the resolution for this conflict.
- The setting and a basic plotline
I then will take the basic outline of what needs to happen and break it down into different chapters that will enable me to reach the final result. This tends to be the area where a lot more of the winging it comes into play for me, as a lot of things end up changing The chapter outline is more just a guideline to help me achieve the main components I decided on at the beginning. There have even been times that everything that happens in the middle of the story has changed completely from the initial plan
All the time I can’t tell you the amount of times a characters nail polish has changed color, or the location of something has changed. To help with this, I have started keeping a notebook where I jot down all of the little things that relate to a character or setting. That way I can flick back quickly to confirm on something minor mentioned earlier. It’s all about maintaining that consistency. I will regularly re-read through chapters that are already written to double-check that everything is as it should be.