I thought I'd talk about the approach to writing I currently favour for my own writing. When I'm ghosting, things differ a little, because I'm looking to work from a chapter by chapter outline produced either by the client to show me what they want, or by me to make sure that I've understood what the client wants.
For my own stuff though, I have it in my head that I'm a pantser. I'm not, but I like to think that I am because several of my favourite authors seem to be. But I'm not really a full plotter either. I find that can get in the way of the spontaneity I want.
So what I find I do is I write thirty or forty thousand words and then I stop, trying to work out where I'm up to. I look through the scenes and the ideas and then I go back to plan out the whole novel. The part I have tells me where my imagination really wants to go, but I'm still in a position to plan it and re work it to make it what it needs to be.
One of the big questions I find myself asking is 'what is this really about?' What are my themes? How can I make it all relate more to those themes. In Court of Dreams, I took a lot of disparate ideas and tied them to concepts of duty and family. In my novel The Glass (which I plan on putting out myself) I took a few standard paranormal ideas and tied them into a bigger question about responsibility and humanity. Currently, I'm writing one, and I realised that actually, my plot didn't connect to my main character's central problem that well. So I was in a position to go back and change it before I'd written the whole thing.