Is it the puppet, or the puppeteer?
Or, in the case of who controls the varied twists and turns of a story: Is it the writer or the character?
The answer is always, to me, and most everyone else I hear from: the characters. So much so that a complaint of a character hijacking the story to do something entirely new and unanticipated is: commonplace.
However that's not how I feel about my stories...not yet, at least. Perhaps it comes with time?
I would never want a character to do something out of character (just for kicks) unless there was a good reason they had been forced that way, but...I don't know. So why don't I feel that way in my "gut" quite yet? Maybe it takes time to digest.
I like to think that I do a decent outline (I also thought this a while back, and then realized that I was horribly, disaster-laden...wrong, but I'm certain I'm better now...), and perhaps I get into the character's head well enough that what I "want" from the story and what the characters end up doing goes hand-in-hand.
Or maybe I'm just not cognizant of the character-upstaging phenomena quite yet.
For the writers out there, what is your experience?