I thought I would share with you how I outline a novel. I am in no way an expert but I figured out what worked best for me when I googled How To Outline A Novel. I found that everyone has their own way… so here is mine!
I have a notebook where I have ideas jotted down. Mostly synopsis’ for book that have yet to be written (it’s seems kind of odd to start there, but that’s how my brain functions.)
I then go into plotting mode where I sit in a chair for a long period of time (annoying my mother) and write the story from start to finish in my head. I then proceed to outline the chapters one by one on the computer. I print them off in size to fit 5×3 index cards. I will tape them (thoroughly to make them look laminated) and set them in an index card holder until it’s time to write.
I outline an entire series before I write one word. To outline places (I’m strictly romance, so I usually don’t make up places. I know some romance writers who do, but usually I will go and visit the places or look them up via Google and have a clear idea where everything is.) I look them up online, and then jot down their address, the name of the business, places near the business (usually restaurants) and a description on the place. When I do make up places, I follow the same outline. I never stray from each point. I find I look for the address and places near often.
There is a website called FloorPlanner where you can design a house and/or business. I usually design my MC’s house… again; I would be there all day if I was trying to make every character’s house. 🙂
For character bios I have a very detailed list that I got offline (that’s meant for RPing) and I fill out each question for the antagonist, the protagonist, and the people they are mainly around. I limit myself (so I’m not stuck on character bios all day) to five of their friends.
I also have an account of Polyvore where I design their wardrobe to make them realistic. I only do this with the Main character. I love fashion and would spend way too much time paying around if I did more than her.
I hope this helps someone who is trying to find a way to outline productively. Again, everyone outlines differently. My way might not be the right way for you. 🙂