It's still a mystery to me how the plotters do it! I so admire their discipline and their technique. I'm a pantster writer and always have been, except when writing exams in university, where I plotted out point form notes for the essay questions!
For me, writing fiction is like watching a movie and I'm just recording what's happening -- which can get me into point-of-view problems because I'm seeing everything. (Thank you to my fantastic editor.) I guess my way is kind of like what the director of a movie does by seeing all the scenes, knowing all the characters, but letting them express themselves, in a director's case through the actor, and in my case, through the words.
It also means sometimes my characters surprise me by going off on a tangent I hadn't expected...and I can worry I don't know how they'll get back, but they always do. Nevertheless I think it can add a bit of zing to a hero to have a wobble toward wimpdom from his strong, silent stoicism or the heroine having a shoe or purse fetish that leads her to finding out more about leather production and thus to a slaughterhouse, and changes her to a vegan. Which I didn't know about her when we started out!
I generally know who the good guys and bad guys are, what the mystery to be solved will be (a death, kidnapping, robbery or whatever) and that the bad guys will lose in the end, even if they seem to have the upper hand at some stage of the story. But I let my characters lead me along their path. It's a fun way to write and why it never, ever gets old for me.
Romance with an edge