forget to figure out the plot, so that I eventually end up lost in a mess of wilderness with no idea what to do next.
Do you plot your stories or do you figure out as you go?
A: I guess I kind of do both... I generally let an idea sit in my head for a little while before I even begin
on it, so I do tend to have a general idea of where it might be going. Then when I start to write, I have a long talk with my sis, (or else a long think with myself!) and get a few plot points decided on, so they act as sort of towns on a map. We may have several options of roads to get there on, and may end up discovering new trails along the way, but the town keeps us moving in the right direction.
Does that make any sense?
But I totally cannot outline every scene and every sentence and then go back through and "add descriptions" or whatever. It's got to be much more organic than that, and kind of be allowed to grow up out of the bed of my imagination in all it's viney, leafy gloriousness.
So, I do a bit of both!
I really understand the feeling you're describing of getting lost in the woods, and having none of the trails line up with each other at all! I've spent my fair share of days in that literary morass and it really stinks to have so many beautiful scenes that are at total odds with each other, and there is no possible way to make them agree! That is a super frustrating experience, so I now go with the "loosely mapped" plot lines... and it really helps!
(Which reminds me, I'm going to do a post on my "plotting arc" design.)
So... did that explanation make any sense?