I attended a wonderful writing seminar last week which was taught by Steven James. He told the attendees that he prefers to write "organically" -- without an outline. He pointed out that by outlining your entire novel, you will try to force your characters to follow through with your outline even if it does not end up matching up with their personality. In other words, when an author begins writing their novel, they don't know their characters well enough yet to predict how they will react to every situation. So, just go with the flow of what seems natural to your characters.
As much as I like his idea, it makes me nervous to try to write a novel without an outline (and without knowing the ending!). For Neighborhood Watch, I have done little outlining up to this point. So, I'll go ahead and continue planning a bit more today but as I write my novel next month I will be open to trashing the outline and just writing what seems natural. Thanks for the advice, Steven James!
Do you prefer writing organically over outlining? Vice versa? A little of both?