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Elmore Leonard would always craft his characters with well-defined warts, flaws, agendas and desires. Then he'd set them in motion and watch them bump up against each other. Keep out of their way; they'll tell you their story.
I probably try to set a bit more structure than that at the outset, but my characters are always going places that I didn't anticipate. Sometimes you realize that the next line is the exact opposite of what you were planning, but you realize that if it wasn't right, it wouldn't have come to you.