How do you start your work?
I am naturally a discovery writer. It's more intuitive and sort of stream-of-consciousness. Of course, I've also just done a couple of short stories and flash fiction pieces so the format itself may lend itself more towards discovery writing. For a novel or a short story with a larger cast, I would probably try to do an outline to keep things straight. It doesn't have to be so black and white, though. I think most writers will tend towards a hybrid approach. Remember, these are all tools. Pull them out of your toolbox if you find that you're stuck. There are no hard and fast rules. Discovery writing appeals to me because I tend towards Stephen King's philosophy on writing stories. According to King, stories are like fossils in your imagination. They're already there. You just have to chip away at them. So far, for me, if I start out by writing a well-defined character, they take a life of their own. They make their own choices and discover things that I never wrote down or consciously thought about. The story reveals itself rather than me constructing it. Your mileage, of course, may vary. If having a strictly defined outline works for you, go for it. If a generic, bulleted list of major points in your story work for you, aces. If you lock yourself in your room and vomit brain words for hours onto the page and deal with the aftermath later, maybe take a shower, but you're fine, too!
What other techniques do you, dear readers, use?