Diana asked: “When you wrote your book, did you sort of have the idea what the whole plot would be about or did you just let it come to you?”
All writers work differently. Some just wing everything, some outline obsessively, and most of us fall inbetween. I personally keep a basic outline (usually a couple of points per chapter, sometimes more as a timeline) and a folder full of notes. I also keep character notes (to make sure someone doesn’t go from green eyes to brown and vice versa). I do revise the outline as I go and try to keep it updated. This is especially important for me as I come up with the chapter headings, since I try to make sure each one has something to do with the chapter itself.
Here’s an example of the first part of my outline that I used for Sucks to Be Me:
1) Week 1
i) Finds out have to choose from parents
ii) Goes to school. English Class: Studying Dracula
iii) Comes Home: Uncle Mortie & Ms. Riley
iv) Uncle Mortie Stays for Dinner
v) Making the List – forgotten homework
ii) Vampire Lesson 1: Vampires don’t look like Brad Pitt –
(1) meets Aubrey
(2) The musculature and physical changes
As you can see, it’s pretty basic. Some people have really, really detailed outlines. You just have to find out what works for you. I used to not outline at all…and I found I never finished those projects. So now I outline.