Her attitude and mine coincide. Some good people have invited me to join writing groups, and although I know excellent writers who credit a great deal of their success to their groups, I've said a firm no, with thanks, to all those invitations. Not only don't I want to muck around with someone else's story-in-progress, I don't want anyone else mucking around with mine.
Reading Charlotte's post activated a memory from way back. In his 1984 book, "Flawed Texts and Verbal Icons - Literary Authority in American Fiction," Hershel Parker made repeated references to John Dewey's belief in the "moment-to-moment control over the relationships between what [the author] has already done, what he is about to do, what he actually is doing, and what he knows, at least vaguely, that he must do later on." Dewey further stated that art can not be plotted beforehand, that artists "learn by their work, as they proceed, to see and feel what had not been part of their original plan and purpose." Sounds right to me.
I swear, there are as many ways to go about writing a novel as there are novelists. Maybe more.