Note: You are about to witness the extent of my artistic prowess. No laughing. (;
Step 1 : The idea.
This is how the idea of my wip presented itself one day in my brain. As you can see it’s a mess.
Step 2: Filling in the holes and transferring the jumbled mess onto paper.
Each color represents pieces of the story on paper: plot, characters, scenes, dialogue, mood.... And as you can see, it's all over the place and I jump around a lot.
Step 3. Pulling out the storyline.
As more holes fill in, I’m able to start pulling out segments of a storyline. Yeah!
Step 4. Voilà
With all the holes finally filled in, the storyline takes shape, and I have the first draft of my ms. *insert happy face here*
As you can see, I'm a pantser to a high degree. When I'm at step 2, I can be anywhere in the story and don't have a predetermined start off point (eg, the beginning). I’m pretty much dictated by my inspiration and the story drives me, not the other way around. Though I've tried being in the drivers seat by doing some plotting, I've even tried outlines, 5 foot long timeline sheets, step sheets, flash cards... but, I always end up throwing in the towel. They’re so time consuming for me and in my experience, get in the way of the muse.
What about you - plotter or pantser?