When I began writing, I didn't know my process. I should have. It's eclectic like my reading. When I was in school, we'd have to do reports, but first, outline. I could NEVER follow an outline. Never. I'd write one up, try to write my paper, come up blank, find different topics I wanted to use as I researched, and give up on my outline. Then I'd write my paper, and AFTERWARDS, write my outline. Now it fit.
What is the problem with this? Writing by the seat of the pants? Nothing, for those of us who are pantsers, who couldn't plot for the life of us. I was brainstorming my new story, Silence of the Wolves, with my son, and after I had written on it for a couple of days, I met with him near Baylor U to have lunch and discuss my progress. He smiled and said, "I wonder if my favorite fantasy author [name, which I've forgotten] writes like you do, off the top of his head." My son was quite intrigued with the idea. He'd always assumed everyone just writes from page one until they get the deed done.
Once, I sat in on a workshop where the author was a plotter. "You have to plot out your works first," she said. "If you don't, you'll have to do major rewrites. One of my writer friends wrote by the seat of the pants and I showed her how to plot and she is so grateful. So you have to plot out your works first."
Hmmm, I bit my tongue, in politeness to the author who is multi-published, and said nothing...until after she left and then talked it over with my chapter mates. Several of us are pantsers. Here's the deal--I think it's WONDERFUL that some can plot. I wish I could! Truly! But it's not possible.
The only things I plot---VERY loosely---are my main character goals and how my hero and heroine meet. Everything else, the characters themselves, the villians, the main plot, the subplots, develop as the story does. When I have tried to plot--I stare at a blank screen, or write stuff I never use...I lose my creativity...I can't come up with twists and turns. It isn't my way of doing it.
So...basically there are plotters and pantsers and some who do a little of both....or maybe most of us do to an extent. BUT, the rule is--do what works for you. Don't let others tell you that there is only one way to do it. If I had to be a plotter...I'd have to give up writing. It just doesn't work for me.
What is your writing method? Do you outline everything first? Or jump in with both feet and take off writing? :)