Or second contact…
The quote may come from Helmuth von Moltke the Elder, or Carl von Clausewitz, or Dwight D. Eisenhower… or just some dude who knew shit.
But it’s true — and it isn’t just true about war.
It’s true about any sort of creation that requires spontaneous adaptation to unknowable but expected change. Like writing fiction.
I outline while knowing the nature of outlining, which is this —
The thing fictional characters do when presented with a story plan is to act around the plan — to do something that will beat the plan. Fictional heroes and villains alike invariably act like real human beings. That is, they work to improve their own odds of success inside the story, and by doing so, they invariably shift the odds in their favor, and invariably surprise me.
These surprises are good for the story — if they surprise me, they will surprise the reader.
They’re just such a pain in the ass… because my heroes AND my villains keep blowing up my nice, neat, carefully plotted outline.
But anyway, that’s where I am today — several hours into my workday, having to stop to re-plot the next few scenes of my outline to maintain the structure of the story I’m building so that I can keep the cool shit one of the little jerks just did.
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