P1010609 Warren Spector, Steven Brust and John Scalzi
on "Creating a character" panel.
Steven Brust was pretty funny. He calls immersion into a character (getting into a character's head space) "method writing". He does not subscribe to the myth that characters have their own will and are making the author do things that the author wasn't thinking of doing. He says he doesn't like when writers use it as a badge of honor. When a character doesn't want to do what you want them to do, that's actually your unconscious telling you that you're screwing up.
He also says: "Every girl I ever slept with found her way into my story, whether I know it or not. Sometimes years later I look at my stories and think, crap, that's her."
About writing fantasy series: in his view, he's writing his own fanfic. In his first book he created a world he can't get away from. So subsequent books set in that world are fanfic.