Planning vs spontenaity

When writing a novel how much should you plan out before you start to write in clear prose? On the other hand, how much should you be open to spontaneity taking over and creating something magical as you go along.

I found an early plan for the novel I am working on at present yesterday. As I read it I was amazed at how much it had changed since I wrote that early synopsis. The characters were mostly the same. Some people who I had imagined would be playing a leading role now only made fleeting appearances or had disappeared all together. There were also new characters who had never been thought of at that initial stage.

The plan was still basically the same - but it was there as an overall shape or sense of direction and the detail had emerged in the writing. And the details had sometimes driven the overall trajectory to change in often subtle ways and the overall shape had often directed and inspired how the details would emerge.

Creativity is a wonderful and somewhat mysterious process. When it works well is absolutely amazing. When it doesn't you can find yourself staring at a blank computer screen for long periods of time wondering which key to hit next. At times liken that I write on my blog just to keep my fingers warm. Hmmm - you can see what I am doing now!

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