I am not an intuitive writer. I can't start with a blank page and watch it take me through a novel. My imagination works in dream-logic, with poor illustrations and few words. Concepts and structure come to me more easily than personalities and relationships; the natural form of my storytelling is summary.
That's not to say that my writing can't take me in unexpected directions. It usually does. That's where I stop because the ramifications of those new directions are varied and interesting and I don't have the brainpower to work those out in real time.
The best compromise I've worked out is to outline in advance, to feel out my story as comprehensively as I can, to know how things are going to happen so I can riff off of that.
For the next month leading up to NaNoWriMo I'll be exploring my most advanced work in progress, a piece currently titled The Hanging Gardens of Hell. It's part of what I plan to be an ongoing setting, and was originally meant to be a novella, but from my first attempt at it in February it's obvious that it needs a higher word count.
This live outlining will be partly me thinking out loud, developing these ideas, connecting themes, building characters. It will contain spoilers. The ultimate goal will be for aspiring writers to have something to look at, a window into how I approach the writing process.