I'm thinking about string in relation to the novel. As in 'how long is a piece of'. While I have the general shape of the plot that's been mapped out for yonks, I'm down in the nitty gritty of events at present, not all of which I'd thought out in detail. But present circumstances require things to occur just out of logic and I have to write them (and keep the story interesting). Part of this is due to the fact that at the beginning of this draft (which will be the first full draft) I decided that I would stay with my protagonist Jeldon every step of the way and not 'jump' at a chapter end to, for example, a few days later when the next chapter starts. I'd done a lot of that when I was writing the series of Kresh short stories, because that is what short stories do, they cut to the chase. But novels are more expansive and when I really started writing the novel and I came to those short story gaps, I had to think about what populated them and this often lead to some really nice discoveries and broadening and deepening of the story, setting and characters. It has become one of the more enjoyable creative aspects of the current draft. The flipside is that while I know where I'm going, I don't necessarily know how long it's going to take me to get there. I thought I was on the home run, but now - as a result of the situation Jeldon finds himself in - I realise I have to write a whole other adventurous episode before we get to the final part. I'm not sure how long that's going to take or how long it's going to end up. Hence the string.
The other thing about writing so fully this way is that I know a lot of this stuff is going to end up on the cutting room floor. But that's fine too, because what remains will be informed by a fuller understanding on my part about just what's gone in to making the story what it finally is. The nice part about not having a particular deadline is that I can take that time and discover the unfolding of the story as it comes. So I'm in a good place right now.