How important is it to know where you’re going with a story when you start out? What about plotting out the story arc or making an outline before you begin to write? I’ve done that with one book that I haven’t started writing yet. But Ann Patchett, whose writing I greatly admire, has a post on the Wall Street Journal on line about the Primacy of Plot. She is a proponent of carefully plotting the story in advance, “If you are a fan of plot yourself and wish to set about the business of writing one, I would highly recommend starting at the beginning of the book, as in chapter one, page one.” Furthermore, she says, “there are others who know where they’re going but then believe the characters wrestle the story away from them and write it up themselves (I regard this as a medical condition).”

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