In the March/April editon of Writer's Digest, I found myself engrossed by an article titled Go Organic by Steven James. He writes about outlining being taught as the right way to shape a story and continues that if you don't follow the formulas you'll be labeled an SOPer--a "seat-of-the-pantser," or just a "pantser." James advises writers to develop a more organic writing process.
I thought he's talking about me--I had never heard or read the term pantser before. People inspire characters for me and, in turn, the characters influence the plot. I have a pretty good idea how they will react to each other and the events that occur and I know how the story will end. But my characters often surprise me and change the direction of the book or story and then I will have to go back and discover why and how she or he took a different turn. The villain I had originally chosen for Scene Stealer changed my mind and I believe the villain in the cozy I'm working on now is about to do the same thing. I have another suspect in mind--time to go to work and question him.