Segue! At my recent SCBWI-C conference, Alyssa Henkin did a manuscript critique for me (and my $50 payment...). She mentioned then, at at other speeches/workshops she did, the value of outlining before writing. She felt that it was necessary for a good manuscript to be outlined before writing. Which is all well and good to say, but I just don't work that way. Part of the joy of writing, for me, is to discover how the book ends, and an outline kills that.
But! I think an outline might work best in the revision process. See, I've realized that my first draft of a novel is, essentially, an outline. A 60k word fully fleshed out outline, but still, an outline. That was me getting the story on paper, and for me to get the story on paper, a sketch outline won't cut it--I need to have the whole she-bang. Now that I've got a 60k word "outline"/"rough draft", my revision process is really about filling in the plot holes and developing a much stronger second draft (or third, fourth, eight-hundredth). Looking at my rough draft in this way really helps me to refocus my revision process. I hate revising...but re-writing is another story...
WriterJenn has a post up about this and how she did an outline after she finished the book.
Outlined the book, and figured out where I was going to add scenes and where I was going to remove them. Where I had to move a scene, I used the outline to help me figure out the best way to do that. When it comes to first-draft writing, I'm a "plunger." Sometimes I use a very sketchy outline, but I drift from it as I write. However, I find outlines useful in the revision stage, when I have all the puzzle pieces and I'm deciding how to arrange them.Although I'm looking at my first draft as an outline in and of itself, I'm also considering doing a true outline on the re-write. I've already re-arranged scenes and added different ones, enough so that I need some system to keep track of everything. When you're dealing with magic and mystery, you've got to have some sort of logical order!