As you may have guessed, plotting and outlining are what make my writing possible.
But too much is bad for me. My first few times doing NaNoWriMo, I used the snowflake method. The very first time, even though the plot fell apart, I still managed to write the story, so the following year, I thought, hell, let’s do it again. Unfortunately, two things were counting against me; first, I no longer had novelty to drive me along and b) my plot was utter crap*. So again the plot fell apart, but this time I didn’t care. Despite the problems, I kept trying to use the snowflake method, which is extremely detailed, until I finally realized that maybe, just maybe, I needed to do my outlining in a different way. After the 3rd Nano, that is.
I may be a bit mule-headed.
I spent time looking at other types of outlines, surfing the Net and reading actual books by actual authors about outlining. I found myself pruning the outline back, year after year. I finally decided to just throw together a brief set of points, and fill in as I go. So far, this is working for me. I’ll often print up the outline, and scribble stuff on the paper, which eventually I might actually use to fix the outline.
My worst part is outlining the ending. It’s always difficult for me to avoid going into too much detail about it. Once I write the ending, my brain tells me I’m done. So I play a game of trying to give hints to myself without actually writing it out. Good times.
*This is only partially true. The original plot I had just didn’t go anywhere; I couldn’t figure out a way out of the one scene in my head. So I abandoned it for fluff.