I’ve been asked literally a couple of questions about planning in the past.
How do you plan? What do you plan? When do you plan?
Each story has a start, middle and an end. Whilst you are writing your story these three elements will become so confused and muddled and interlocking that as you finish, and look over it with your cup of cold tea, you will realize that none of what you thought was going to happen, has actually happened.
Stories, by default, take on a narrative of their own. Your characters will begin to breathe, and with breath, they will deny you at every corner. Over and over. Instead of taking your words and ramming them down their throat, let them speak for themselves. This is where writing comes alive.
Life is not planned. There are unexpected twists with every handshake, eye-contact and touch. With every “Hello,” or “Goodbye,” there are a hundred million different outcomes, a different path. It is your job, no, your duty, as a writer, to explore these paths and exploit them.
Planning can only take you so far. Characters are your dearest friend, and your most dastardly enemy. Your characters, if you let them, will take you the rest of the way, even if, at the most difficult moments, you have to drag each other up the hill. A true master is one that lets the character heave them up the hill, says “Thankyou,” politely to their face, and then stabs them repeatedly in the back.