I spent all day on Sunday hanging out in a reading room with some awesome people working on The Homecoming Court. I finally got to the point where I really could not continue without at least working out the major elements and main plot points of the story, so I took a break from the computer, took out my journal, and started the process of working out all the details.
About an hour later I had an elaborate outline of the world outside of the academy and the political tensions that were rising that would eventually lead to the military acting in a way that made my MC question everything about her future plans and her dedication to the academy and the military as a whole.
And then I scrapped all of it.
That is not the story I started with. It is not even close. It is a story worth writing and a story that I might play around with later, but it is not this story; it is not Devon and Jared's story. I wanted this to be a book about a crazy (and in my opinion vastly more interesting) version of the Homecoming competitions we are all so familiar with and that are quite often written about. It is a simple concept that will become, I believe, a fantastic story when some complex characters are thrown into the mix.
It was a productive hour and I'm glad I took the time to work it all out because now I have a very good understanding of what I do not want this story to become, which led me to working out a direction I like much better.
Moral of the story: don't be afraid to plan out an idea just to see where it goes and then to completely scrap it if it isn't was you wanted after all. If you have multiple ideas plan out all of them and see what works best!