When I first started my WIP, it was for NaNoWriMo and I had a concept and the first line and decided to run with with. Characters started fleshing out, a little, and I was meeting word goals and then, smack dab in the middle of my month...
So I sat down and wrote a VERY basic idea of where I wanted the rest of the story to go, realized that the stuff I'd written previously didn't give me any chance to get there and started tweaking.
Then I did a full, multi-colored outline of each character's subplot to really figure them out.
After I thought I knew them, I started over, rewriting the characters much better developed (trust me, they needed it). And as I'm realizing who my characters are, the story is getting better.
So, to sum up - when I try to just put butt in chair and write, it stinks. When I try to outline first, my characters are so dull that watching grass grow in the desert is cause for more excitement than they are.
And I would really like to figure out my method of writing with a great big hope that this isn't it.
I like to say that I plot with the connect the dots method - I know several big events and scenes that have to be in the story, and the tricky part is writing the lines that will show the big picture. But even trickier (and all you professional dot to dot competitors know this) is when you can't find the next dot, and without it, the cute elephant isn't balancing on the ball, he's levitating and suddenly the whole story is off.
Is there a spot for those who aren't quite either? Have you found some cool tools or tips to help discover who your characters are faster than my way?