Re: Plotting Ahead of Time
TV Tropes is one addicting website. @_@
For a long while, I used to start a fan fic with an idea that consisted of a beginning and a vague end, or no end at all. Needless to say, not one of them was ever finished. I would either run out of ideas, run out of inspiration, or run myself into plot holes and situations that require something ridiculous to get out of.
Now, I decided that I would not start writing a story unless I have each and every chapter planned out. I don't plan every detail, though, because taking yourself by surprise is half the fun. I have numerous points in my story plan of MGA where it's something like, "Character X goes through cave full of obstacles to reach Character Y" or "Character X chases Characters Y and Z through (insert place here)" and I can have a lot of fun coming up with ideas that fill in the holes I left. I can have the fun of writing my story without the stress of wondering how the plot will work.
I start out with just pages of notes. I write down anything that I think will contribute to the plot. I add more notes, expand on some, declare others stupid and rule them out, until I have enough to say, "Okay, I can start sorting these notes into chapters now." Sometimes a plot doesn't get beyond the stage of notes, and it's left in a notebook or in a file on my pen drive to be forgotten or discovered again. I find that leaving an idea forgotten or at the back of your mind and picking it up later will involve plenty of changes. *looks at current fic* xD