So, even though Green Gates Entertainment is not solely a stable of writers, I am a writer and so I have these sorts of thoughts often.
I am starting a new story so how much should I outline? Versus just write from a vague idea and let the story and characters take a life of their own and lead me where they want me to go?
I read Stephen King's "On Writing" and he said he just writes and lets the stories unfold as they may. Unfortunately, I think this only works for the start of the stories. I love Stephen King's writing, but the endings don't always reverberate with me. When I read his approach to writing though, it sounded so good to me.
Then read Terry Brooks' "Sometimes the Magic Works" and he says that a writer should outline meticulously. He even pointed out Stephen King as an example of what not to do. This confused me.
Of course it also reminded me of the old saw: "There are three rules to writing a great novel. Unforunately, no one knows what they are."
Then I read Peter David's "Writing For Comics". I realize that not all of us want to write for comics, but a lot of the stuff in this book apply to any writing. Peter David says you should know the beginning, middle and end before you start. This is echoed by Syd Field who has written a ton of books on Screenwriting. Syd says you should definitely have an idea where you are going.
So what do I do? A little of both. I get a good idea of who my characters are. I figure out the beginning, the middle and the end, but I leave plenty of space in between where the characters and story can sort of do their own thing and lead me where they want to go naturally. Then during the editting and rewrite phase, these all gets polished into one smooth narrative.
What's your approach? Of course what is most important is to not get too bogged down in details and just writer something. Get it written, then get it right!