Monday, July 26, 2010

plot mapping

I just got back from a five-mile run.

One of the reasons I run every day is that I do not outline when I write. I know, that's a strange justification for running, but it happens to be true.

Maybe it's a consequence of having lived as long as I have, but from time to time I can't help but wonder how different my life would be today if I had made different choices when I had to make decisions about my direction. I definitely am not talking about regret -- I just wonder, sometimes, how different my planet would be if i didn't do some of the things I did, or if I did things I chose not to do.

Since I live up in the mountains, running here is a very quiet and isolated thing. I don't have to worry so much about traffic and crossing streets as I do rattlesnakes and stuff like that. So when I run, I usually map out all the things that will happen if my characters make different choices.

It's kind of like being a good chess player (which I am not) -- seeing not just the move you have to take, but seeing the next three or four moves down the line. So, when I write my books, I suppose that, in reality, I am writing several books at the same time because I'm always plotting out all the things that will happen down the line if my characters choose A over B.

But I never outline.

And I never really know how my books are going to end until I've put enough miles in on the trails.