Robert Burns wrote the "best laid plans of mice and men often go awry." I am finding this to be true with respect to my writing. Specifically, I am referring to the futile efforts to adhere to my outline.
My outline. My dear outline, painstakingly crafted over several weekends. I think its best use at this point may be toilet paper. I read books upon books all advising that when writing a story with mystery elements, an outline is essential. I had a long outline, a short outline, a fluid outline, and an outline of the outline. Worthless, all of them.
When I sit at my keyboard, eager to write the scene I carefully outlined, I find myself trying to force things that don't feel natural. The scene felt natural when I outlined it. Now that I am writing, the story I outlined won't work. The scenes, plot and dialogue all seem stilted and awkward. My fingers fly typing strange remarks and actions which I had not anticipated. I'm getting pretty scared.
An aside - I don't hear my characters talking to me. Conference after conference I have heard authors say that their characters talk to them and whisper (or shout), "no, that is not what I would do." Not so much as a peep from any of my characters. Their voices are not what is derailing my outline.
The problem with my outline is that I feel that story has been written. Now, my short attention span and flying thoughts are taking the story to places I hadn't anticipated. I am terrified. What if, by abandoning my outline, I write myself into a corner.
I am a planner. I love plans, lists and organization (pipe down anyone who has seen my house). Writing by the seat of my pants is terrifying. Horrifying. Mortifying. Yet, I think I have to fly blind for a little while. Hopefully, the time spent in the outline will not go to waste. At least I have a lot of extra scratch paper on my desk!