Writing is an organic process. At least that is how I always viewed it. You can approach the story from a cerebral end but it seems to me when you start writing the story becomes organic.
I kind of think this is a good thing. I see a story as a shifting plain with topological features that come and go, warp and fold. As it takes shape in my mind I move through the story and sometimes the story changes and I change with it. That give and take process helps gel the story in my mind and I think creatively the story is all the better for it.
It’s funny. Sometimes I will have a story fully developed in my mind but when I sit down to write it starts changing. That’s why I don’t like using detailed outlines. They don’t work for me. When I make an outline they are nothing but broad strokes, the barest framework imaginable. Mostly I jot down phrases or snatches of conversation. I am often more interested in following what I see as the tone and flavor of a story than a roadmap.
I want to work in concert with the story. Not against it. I always try to keep this in mind when I write. It doesn’t always work, but it’s nice when it does bear fruit.