I’ve long had an argument with Lee Child—a friendly argument, since he’s a friend of mine—about one of the oldest questions in the mystery/thriller genre: To outline, or not?
Like all novelists, Lee starts with a premise, a “What If?” question, and he answers it by the end of the novel. But he doesn’t know where he’s going until he sits down to write. He leaves himself open to serendipity. My way is different: I don’t start writing a book until I know how it ends. And I like to know the main plot points before I start.