If you write, you would have inevitably come across two major writing styles.
Either you plan until you’ve got a lot of plot. Or you write in a creative heat by the seat of your pants. You are either a plotter or a panster.
I’m a panster, so I can tell you more about that. When I write, I usually have an idea, something basic, maybe a character or a world, but usually some element that I can work with. Maybe it’s half a logline–whatever.
So I sit down to my computer or pull out a notebook and pen–and I start writing. I don’t worry about where the story is going to go (well, I do, but I try to let go of the worry knowing that it will all work out in the end), I don’t worry about how the characters are going to react. I just write. I’m like the little secretary hunched over her keyboard. I just do what I’m told–what the characters tell me to do, really.
I guess I’m their slave. But I don’t mind so much. It’s kinda fun (until you have to start editing. But that’s another story).
A plotter on the other hand well, plots. They outline, diagram, have a list of characters, maybe a map drawn up of their world, things like that. They’re in control of the story, how the story is going to go, how characters are going to act. Of course, they’re not completely rigid, but certainly a bit more, shall we say, organized than a panster.
Other writers are a bit of both–they have some plot, but they also make it up as they go along. Neither technique is better than the other: it’s what works for you. In the end, it’s the story that matters. The process of creating it isn’t the most important thing (you can argue that it is, but I won’t argue that right now), the end result is what your reader/publisher/agent/maybe nobody will read. So use whatever technique works best for you.
So…which are you?