I know a lot of editors and agents are going to cringe when I say this but I don’t believe in writing outlines before you write your novel. I know the beginning and how it will end, but everything in between is where I allow my characters to surprise me. Nonetheless, conflict is magnified throughout the novel. I create character sketches, visualize my setting and emphasize on my theme and hook before I write my novel. I keep a notebook and index cards beside me to add ideas along the way. Only when I’ve completed my first draft do I write an outline. I evaluate my character sketches to see if my characters are consistent and if the story has a payoff in every chapter. Before I begin editing, I write down notes for every chapter. I would love to hear if you’re a pantser or a plotter.