Laura Stoltz at 2012-07-10 16:35:33:
Can we say "both?" Prep first, gut second? You can prep, prep, prep a character all you want - figure out what kind of girls he wants to bang, what kind of music makes him want to strangle kittens, what food makes his nostrils flare up in a bad way - but once you put this dude in a scene, he might not say what you planned on him saying, he might not want to take mercy on that little bastard that is picking on his ginger nephew at school. Your protag might look at you and be all, "What the fuck were you thinking? I am NOT that kind of guy. I want to call this guys grandmother a whore, and you can't stop me." Or, maybe that's what you want him to do and he won't.
What was my point? Oh, right. So I see myself as God - I create these people (what they look like, who their parents are, what their big fears are,) and then put them in a sucky situation and let them go. If I don't like how they're reacting, and they don't get to where I want them to be at the end, maybe I need to flood all the things that made it feel contrived, put the things that worked out well on an Ark -(haha, get it? Ark/arc? Yeah? No? Damn.) - and rebuild a little. Make Armenius have a different flaw and see how he reacts to that beluga whale eating his favorite grocery store checkout guy NOW.
Bottom line? Both. I guess I could've just stopped with that at the beginning, but I like hearing myself talk. Write. Seeing myself write. Seeing my words typed and hearing them in my head. Where's the backspace on this fancy schmancy work Mac?