I had a conversation with a reader today. She had a very good question that I thought I would expand upon and query the other authors in my little world.
When I write a story, I create the general plot, the story question, and the main events. Then I create the Characters and flesh them out as fully as I can. When all of this is complete I turn the characters loose in my head. I let them act and react according to their predispositions and circumstances. This has led to many plot twists I had not planned. The person I had pegged as the bad guy/girl turns out to be innocent with someone else pulling the strings who clearly had more motive. I have had this backfire once or twice, but that is out of one hundred plus stories. Often the twists lead to the only character who could have been the antagonist all along.
That is how I am sometimes surprised by my own stories. My readers seem to truly enjoy the twists and turns and unknowingly applaud my in depth planning to write such an interesting story. I hate to tell them, and I rarely do, that it isn’t as much planning as it is the nature of the people in the story.
My query is this: how many other writers use this technique? I always run into the same advice from authors to plan everything ahead of time. The author must know every step and set it up accordingly. I however have never been able to make this style of writing interesting enough. Is this due to a lack of discipline, or just differing methods? Any feedback is encouraged. I am not a writer whose ego belongs in a Christmas parade.