I have a friend who has literally walked around for two years with an idea percolating in her head without writing a single word until the entire novel is structured and ready to go. Then there is moi. The ultimate pantser. I've tried some pre-planning for my novels but find it cumbersome, and I rarely stick to my plans anyway.
Currently, I'm enrolled in my second course at the Institute of Children's Literature with an instructor who pressures me to plan. This has been difficult at best. True, I've mapped out my work in progress (WIP), but I find myself veering away from those plans as my fingers tap the keyboard.
It's interesting to have readers sometimes comment on how they love my characters yet wonder if they are ADD. I hadn't planned them that way. :o
Recently I attended Mark Diamond's workshop on teaching writing to kids and found myself walking away with tips that are even helpful to someone like me. http://www.anyonecanwrite.com
I especially found his WOW line useful. Here's what you do:
(1) Draw a horizontal (hamburger) line across a sheet of paper.
(2) Divide said line into three equal parts. These parts represent the beginning, middle, and ending of your story.
(3) Place a star between the middle and ending of the story. This is your WOW moment. That's right! The one place where the most exciting thing happens.
(4) After jotting down your idea for the WOW moment, return to the beginning. What happened a little before the WOW moment?
(5) Next write an ending that sums up the WOW moment. You could even work out some sort of connection between the beginning and the ending because you now know what you are going to do.
(6) Finally, fill in the missing pieces of your story.
Mr. Diamond has several books available on his site, and I was pleased to have had my school purchase all four of them for me. I especially like the one about Narrative Writing.