I'm still plugging away at The Curse of the Blood Stone, but I was sidetracked big time when my mother broke her hip and ended up in the hospital. Needless to say, the whole episode changed my priorities and diverted my energy. I'm beginning to get back on track with the novel and approaching Plot Point I, the scene that will kick off the real action of the novel.
Which brings me to the oft-debated Outline. As I've mentioned before, I'm using Larry Brooks' "Six Core Competencies" and Randy Ingermanson's "Snowflake Method" to guide my development of the characters and story arc. This resulted in 8 pages of sketched scenes. Basically, an outline.
Some writers claim an outline is too restrictive. They want to discover the story organically. For them, an outline restricts creativity. Other writers construct long, detailed outlines nearly as long as the finished novel. And there are many writers that approach novel writing somewhere between these two extremes.
All I can say is -- without my scene list, I wouldn't have the foggiest idea where I left off the story when "life happened." Whether it's a serious event, like my mother's surgery and recovery, or minor interruptions to the writing schedule -- I don't know how others do it without some sort of outline.
So, place me in the outlining camp. Rather than restrictive, I find my scene sketch freeing. I have added and deleted scenes as the novel progressed. I have deviated from the original concept for the scene. Yet, like a bookmark, the outline has helped me find the place where I left off writing. It has launched me into the next scene immediately on returning to the novel in progress. Works for me!