I am a writing hypocrite. I constantly talk about the virtues of plotting and give details on how to plan. I have a copy of Scrivener (software to help you plot and plan your novel). I have stacks of stick notes laid out to denote scenes. And yet, I'm having a ball discovery writing my latest short story.
Now, some people call this "pantsing." I don't because it's stupid. But summed up, discovery writing is just writing and seeing where it goes. Letting your characters tell you the story, so to speak. I'm not such a romantic as to believe that my characters are telling me the story, but I am finding that, on occasion, if I just writing and let the reaction from instantly and naturally, I'm not as concerned about making stuff fit the plan I've made.
This isn't to say that I haven't plotted out my short story. I most certainly have. I just haven't written it down as a proper outline. And, to honest, I wouldn't even be mentioning this as a topic today except that I accidentally discovery wrote over the last couple days.
You see, I had the plot lined up a certain way and I assumed that meant I would need certain characters. I came up with the basics for them (they were tertiary at best, but still needed) but didn't delve into anything. Then I started writing. Everything started flowing naturally and before I knew it I had blasted past the part of the story I should've logically introduced these characters. And the plot hasn't suffered for it at all. I've found different and arguably better ways to unfold the plot and I think it's working out fantastically.
What's weird about it is when I first noticed I forgot to include these characters, I stopped dead. I was convinced I couldn't finish the story as it was. I was going to have to go back, rewrite everything, and I was so distraught. But while relaxing, listening to music, and trying to think out the plot, I realized I didn't need them.
So... maybe discovery writing isn't so bad. And maybe what I was doing wasn't typical discovery writing, but it falls within it on a technical level. Either way, I have to concede that there is a time and place for in-depth plotting and letting your imagination run freely and without constraint.
Don't forget to be awesome!
Keep your eyes open for my debut novel, The Paladin.