Personally, I have to plan. Firstly, I spend a long time not writing, listening to the characters in my head while I’m washing up or driving. But once I’m ready to put words on the page, I plan.⠀
I start with my total word count (e.g. 75,000) divide that by chapters (usually 20 = 3,750 words per chapter) then list what happens in each. Then whatever feels strongest, I write first. It also depends on my mood.
I save my chapters as separate documents so I can jump around, and I write whatever piece of the puzzle is begging to be written at the time.⠀
I don’t necessarily know every detail before I start and I often have massive gaps in my plan but I just fill those in later. I feel like a detective putting all the clues together to see the bigger picture. Its pretty satisfying when I get to the end.