I don't so much outline my books as create bullet points of narrative needs. That is, as I go along I think of scenes or chapters that need to be done and put them in a loose order.
Usually, after every couple of chapters or so, new developments necessitate that I go and change the bullet points -- either the content or the order.
So the bullet points aren't so much a map as as they are reminders of what I'm trying to do, a general direction I'm headed.
I start off the book with a rough idea of the elements I want to include. Then, usually about 20% of the way in, I get a more specific sense of where the story is going. That's when I start posting my reminders.
So for instance, I realized that I wanted Death of an Immortal to be a redemption story. I wanted the Donner Party Werewolves to be a survival story.
I'm looking at Dead Spend No Gold as a "Lost Patrol" story, where the original party is winnowed down one by one.
Once you have the basic theme of the story in place, the plot sort of follows those contours.
I like to be flexible, but have a general heading.
3 hours ago