With my first book, Treason at Hanford, I outlined the entire novel, scene by scene, on 4x6 index cards. In fact, at one point, when my fellow writer/reviewers pointed out a discrepancy in the book, I stopped writing completely, filled in the gaps with a new outline, and then, only then, started writing again.
This book is different. I've been living with it, off and on, for nearly two years. I have given myself a 1 June 2008 deadline for completing the novel. This one is a modern crime story/mystery set in Houston, post-Katrina. I have a general outline in my head of where the story starts and where I *think* it's going to end. However, whenever I sit down with index cards to map out the story, my brain freezes. It's telling me that this time, just write and let your characters tell the story. It's a bit scary, what with my deadline approaching about 9 weeks away. But it's also kind of liberating. I'm just the tour guide for this story. And I'm the first reader.
P.s., something happened last night that bodes well. I am currently reading Allan Guthrie's entry to Hard Case Crime: Kiss Her Goodbye. Normally, I read a chapter before bedtime. Last night, I was more interested in my own characters. I wanted to know what happened next. That's my first step to making my own book my current can't-put-down book. It's a good feeling.