"I happened across a blog post ... and the writer was describing these super-detailed outlines he uses, so detailed that the outline winds up about half the length of the finished book. Then (I guess) the writer just has to fill description and dialogue and maybe write those transition scenes where you get a character from point A to point B.
It didn't cross my mind for even a second that I ought to be doing that.
How do I develop my characters? By writing the first chapter of a book. How do I develop the setting? Same answer: by writing the first chapter. And how do I figure out the plot of the book? By seeing how the characters interact with one another and with the setting and waiting for a central scene (or two or more, if I'm lucky) to write itself in my head. Getting the actual plot to line itself up so I can get to that scene and then have someplace to go afterward – that's the hard part!" — Rachel Neumeier, writing on the Orbit Books blog.