I’m waiting for a cover for A Thing Forgotten and working on my H. P. Lovecraft/Shirley Jackson fusion which I’m calling The Empty House, and needed a break, and started Star Kings story four. I have a good opening scene, and a good idea of what the ending is about, it is just (just?) the middle that I have to work on. Story Four (no title yet) has to evolve from the previous three stories while being independent of them, and has to be such that story five can follow it. (It will not be according to the sketch I wrote, everything is evolving in its own way, but I can still use the core idea.)
I remember, many years ago, when I was on a convention panel about outlines, did we use them or not and why. Several authors, including a couple in the audience, said they didn’t like to use them, because they felt trapped by them, that they had to write according to their carefully constructed outline, and could not take of on new developing ideas. But I find that forcing a story to fit a pre-determined outline is wrong — the writing stops, and beating my head against that wall only produces bruises and brick dust.
So I have sketches for stories five through twelve. Story four is growing of itself despite the original sketch, and is turning into a better story than I had planned. I will keep my sketches for the rest of the stories, not really as an outline, but for plot points — what each story must achieve — and anything I have written in those sketches that doesn’t serve the story when I write it, I’ll just have to throw that away.