Welcome to Mysterious Writers, Evelyn. Tell us about your writing life.
I write mystery romance and romantic suspense and I love to write on dark and stormy mornings. Something about overcast skies and the sound of raindrops pouring down and bouncing back up from the ground, makes me feel like firing up the old word processing program and getting all my feelings down on the page. I sometimes get great ideas in the wee hours of the morning when my mind is in Alpha state, the time just before I'm fully awake. Early morning is when I write some of my best material. I'm probably coining a new word here, but I'm what you might call a "pantsoutliner." I do most of my pantsing at the beginning of each manuscript. But once I have the first couple of chapters written, outlining or fleshing out the rest of the story has its advantages by giving me some direction.
Ideas for story lines and dialog come to mind at the most unexpected times; usually when I'm getting dressed to go out, I'm running late for an appointment, or when I'm working in my garden, or even when I'm driving my car. If I don't stop what I'm doing and write down my ideas, I'll lose them. Knowing what's going to happen and where it's happening in the story by having a prepared outline, gives me a place to put those ideas, or that dialog, so that it's not just a random sentence or paragraph on a piece of paper when I go back to read it later. I did a lot of random writing when I first began, but I soon learned that when I came back to what I had written, I couldn't remember where I wanted to put those words or why I even wrote them down in the first place. Of course, I never throw out anything, so I managed to use those phrases, or that dialog, somewhere in the story, but probably not in the original place that I meant it to be, where it could have had a much greater impact on the story.
I guess you might say I learn by doing things the hard way first. (sigh!)