It’s interesting to me that some novelists write an outline before writing a book. I read that James Ellroy’s outlines are sometimes longer than the novels he writes from them.
I’ve never written outlines. If I knew what was going to happen, I would have no incentive to write the story, and would probably be too lazy to bother. Alfred Hitchcock said, “Once the screenplay is finished, I’d just as soon not make the film at all.” I can relate to this.
In the early 1990s, I would make notes of ideas and dialogue, but I rarely do that anymore.
When starting a novel, I always know the ending, the final scene — but I never know the meaning of it, or how it got to that point, and so I write the book in order to find out.
I’m often surprised at how plotted my novels seem, when there was no plotting at all. If I don’t try to control it, the story tells itself.