Fiction at its best gives me an understanding of people I don't get. It connects me to people I couldn't have understood before, often through things I do get.
I would like to write stories that scratch that itch, too. I'd like to write stories that explore alien characters in a way that brings understanding and empathy.
I write for me on other dimensions, but I can't on this, not through the whole process. I suspect that if by the end of writing and revision I don't understand the characters I wrote, something has gone wrong. So, by the time I write the story, reading the story can no longer affect me in the way I like stories to affect me. I have to understand the character to write the story. I can't go on not knowing and reread the final draft and be surprised.