I detest outlines and over planning. Generally, books derived from outlines and extreme details (to the point where every back-story and character arc is predestined) are indubitably flawed works. Research, I do, although most of my novels come from my experience level, in either life or education, so I generally do not need to go too far a field for the research, and in that, I will jot down a note or two. I primarily use the computer, however, I have a scratch sheet, one per novel with some notes to keep me honest — character names (especially Chinese ones), places names (especially Chinese ones) and doodle maps (especially . . . well you get my drift). By developing a novel organically, you allow the elements that make a story to form. You also permit your characters to come alive and then share the writing task. Although I sometimes need to chastise a character and they have held union meetings to protest something I’ve forced on them, generally a first draft is born from a harmony of my imagination and the characters extendion of that imagination, thus engaging the reader.
Edward C. Patterson , Interview