I have about 1/3 of the story firmly outlined, and a rougher sense of about another 1/3. I find moving between outlining and free writing balances the need to have a direction while allowing for character growth.
Someone asked me recently which of my stories was my favorite. I had to laugh. It's always the one I'm writing. There's something in writing a new story that's like the excitement of a new love. And since I've been happily married for nearly 20 years, this is my mid-life fling. Characters and story. Hubby doesn't seem to mind too much.
A simple tunic the color of sand lay folded on the cot. Someone knew something about Tisreen death rituals then. His mouth twitched into a brief smile. Just not the right something. There would be no priest to bless the garment and dress him in it after death. No matter. His feet would find the Divine path even from this Godless place.
He was glad to see a steaming basin and washcloth. It would feel good to replace the stink of Rimland with the clear scent of water. Wincing against the pain, Zev stripped off the remnants of the shirt his youngest sister had embroidered. She wouldn’t recognize her handiwork now.
Zev moved slowly, washing his face and hands first. The warm water sluiced away grime and dried blood, leaving the basin fouled and the cloth dark. He slipped the clean tunic over his head, keeping his right arm as still as he could. The energy the Rimland drink had lent him was fading and Zev knew he would need to lie down soon.
The cell was thick in shadow now. The sun had moved past the one tiny opening high up against the far wall and the guards hadn’t bothered to light the lanterns in the hall. Zev shrugged. It wasn’t as if there was anything to see. He stretched out on the cot letting his eyes rest and his mind drift. The desert was waiting for him. In the darkness, he hummed the first hymn he had learned as a child. The soft resonance filled him with the joy of home and eased the stiffness in his abused body. He was ready.