Of course I found myself changing the story line as I wrote. Besides that, a buildup to each incident was necessary. I had to weave aspects of my sleuth's life—her friends, family, lover, enemies, and work colleagues—into the plot. All this required on-the-spot writing. Pantser-writing, if you will.
Now that I'm writing under contract, I've discovered that I give a much freer rein to my Pantser side. Of course I work from an outline that includes the theme and subplots of each novel. I know the victim or victims, the suspects and the killer.
In my attempt to keep the story line as vital as possible, I add details and events as I move along, elements I don't anticipate when writing the outline. Recently, I realized that I wanted Carrie, my sleuth, to view a character I had introduced earlier in the book as a possible suspect. To do this, I needed to create a scene that included Carrie, this character and an incident that would make him look suspicious.
"Hurry up and write it!" I told myself.
Nothing came to me.
Fortunately, I decided not to force the issue. I told myself the solution would come to me when it was ready.
And it did! An hour or two later I knew how I was going to reintroduce my suspect. What's more, I had already set the stage for his reentry into the story earlier in the book. I realized that my creative process had been kind enough to do this many, many times in the service of writing many books. I was proud of myself! I didn't panic. I didn't worry that the answer wouldn't come. I trusted myself, the process, and the book I was writing.
I think it comes down to the fact that I've learned to trust my Pantser side while still putting my Plotter side to work. In my opinion, both are needed. What do you think?