I just wanted to throw out there a short about a dreaded topic for many newbie writers, myself included.
The system of strategy that a writer uses to work towards creating his/her masterpiece.
I've personally found a few types:
1. Free-former: Quite a few fall into this group, including my virtual mentor J.A. Konrath in his early career, as well as probably half my writing group. They just go for it, without much in the way of outline or planning. Probably most novels start off written like this.
2. Planner: Not so many in this group, and they will generally make a sparse outline that covers the main points of the story. Some will stick to this, others will not. I generally prescribe to this style.
3. Obsessional: This type will not type a word until they think of exactly the right word. Often their works are very short, because it takes them quite a bloody long time to get anything down. I think more then a few beginners have this outlook, and it crushes their hopes because they don't want to do anything wrong. (and they never get anything done.)
4. Balanced: This person will make a outline that is detailed, but not a obsessional. It will generally have a paragraph per chapter, and cover the main plot points, as well as any direly important conversations. From what I can gather, J.A. Konrath now uses this format, primarily because he writes so much, he loses track of what plot and what action goes in what novel/story/article.
I think it's pretty obvious that I want to be part of type 4, balanced.
It seems to be the best way to both get a good story down, and get it done on time.
What do you think? What type are you?