I am wondering what approach each individual uses when it comes to their story creation. I use Product Management terms because those are two common ways to work, but I'm sure many of you have unique styles. Waterfall is basically what it sounds like, a flood of information, everything at once--no retooling until you have a finished version. Agile is more like retool as you go, a systematic frame work--more freeform for quality, yet more time consuming in terms of due date. Generally, my approach starts simply with a feeling / idea which I cultivate into a one word theme. I dwell on that theme and how it can relate overall story, but also how it relates to the protagonist and antagonist. It needs to bleed into the tone of the book--so to me thats the catalyst for starting. I try to start out structured, developing ideas, but usually the characters throw that out the window and start to write themselves, I really try to think of two things every step--is there tension(conflict-reaction-resolution) and what would this character really do. On occasion this brings me to a path I didn't expect or makes me realize a catalyst is needed to pass my character through a literary doorway of no return. I spend way too much time going back to retool structure and dialog instead of finishing a draft, so one thing I try to do is write a summary of each chapter (whether it gets the boot later or not). Once I reach that chapter I expand on it, and expand and force myself to move on. So I like to hear other approaches too. Some people, professionals included, are extremely structure--others free but rhythmical--and some have great success with super free form styles. What do you do?