I am an outliner. Sometimes I can discovery write [very] short stories, but overall, I am a thorough, anal, musthaveit-outliner. I honestly don’t understand how anyone can write a novel without an outline. (Not that it isn’t possible—Stephen King does it all the time.)
I’m trying a tactic I got from David Farland’s “Daily Kick in the Pants”, albeit a little tweaked. As I work on my outline for The Raimos (TR for future reference), I’m color-coding the text by character. I’m using six colors—Esrov, my protagonist, is blue, my three side characters are orange, pink, and green, my villain is brown, and everything else is classic black. (Did you need to know my colors? No. But I wanted to say what they were anyway.)
After he color-codes his outlines, Farland changes everything to black and starts his story. I’m not going to. I think I prefer the excessive rainbowing of my (currently 15-page) document. It’s really nice; I can see where my characters come in, where a character has been forgotten, and how much of a character is in each scene (which will help when I choose POV). So . . . yeah. We’ll see how it turns out. I like it so far.
I recommend outlining. Don’t be uber anal with it, but know what you’re doing. My stories always fell apart before I outlined, and now I’ve [somehow] developed the ability to finish books. Outlining FTW.
P.S. Sanderson sits in on my writing group tomorrow. I submitted CSH’s chapter 4. We’ll see how it goes.