I'm what is known as a "pantser," rather than a "plotter." Rather than figure out all the twists and turns of a book before I begin to write it, I start with an idea – a problem or a question – and then start writing. This can be difficult. I end up writing some dead ends that I have to scrap, and I must revise really carefully to make sure everything makes sense. On the plus side, this allows me to surprise myself, when characters or scenes suggest innovations that I never would have thought of if I had tried to bang out the entire story before I started writing.
I'm currently working on the third Blackie and Care (the followup to "As Dark As My Fur"), and I thought I had hit a major block. I was just about to take a break, to start re-reading the manuscript desperate to find some new thread to follow, when the magic happened. I bashed out a scene, and then went for a workout. I wasn't consciously thinking about my book problems as I ran, but something clicked. As I hit the 20-minute mark, I had one of those "aha" moments. The scene I had just written reached the wrong conclusion – but once I rewrote it, I saw what would happen next, and, in fact, how the rest of the book, using all the odd bits I'd written over the previous weeks, could come together into an exciting (I hope) conclusion.
Now the only problem will be reading my own sloppier-than-usual post-workout scrawl!