When I write, I see the story in front of me. You know how when you read, you see the characters move and do what they're doing? It's like that for me when I write; I see the characters interact, what they do, where they go, what happens. I'm in the room with all of these people (which is probably why I fall in love with the guy characters and become really good friends with the girl characters). I'm seeing everything that happens as though I'm there with them. (It's probably why I have such a difficult time with telling rather than showing...).
So, as I write, I write the really basic skeleton. When I finish, there are really basic words, really simple sentences. Originally, Character Defects finished at 73,000 words or so. After a couple of rounds of editing, it's holding strong at 86,000 words. I write this way because it allows me to write fast, and crappily, but have my ideas fully written out on paper. I have each scene written, I know EXACTLY where the story went. Plus, because I know it's weak writing, I have no qualms with completely deleting sections........usually.
An example of skeleton writing:
"And then Jake throws a rock. And then Jake is angry because it hit the tree...rather than the car he was aiming for" etc. (Note: I promise you the writing isn't this basic, nor does it usually contain that amount of 'and's.) But these lines are what the story is made up of...all of the bones that will help it stand up strong, but at the core, it's missing the meat, the emotional pull of a really good novel.
Usually, it's missing the heart, too.
After the bones are written, I go through and fill in the meaty sections; starting usually with the digestive tract, because let's face it, the second draft is usually poo, too. (This made me really happy to write by the way. I hope it at least made you smile.)
Round three is where I become the characters, where I see what they see rather than what I see. They're no longer another person, they're a part of me. I have to step into their shoes, feel what they feel when the best friend steals the boyfriend, feel when their bones break.
I can't seem to find the quote I was looking for but it basically says something like; If you don't tear up when you write, your reader won't cry when reading. Feel your work, know your work. It's fun to be someone else for a day. (Until you know, the climax of the story...then...we might all dive in over our heads, but that's why it's crazy fun, right?)