NaNo November: Panster or Planner?

Are you a fly by the seat of your pants writer or do you carefully outline before writing any words? Almost every author usually has the basic elements formulated before starting a large-scale writing project. The basic elements of any outline include:

1. Title
2. Characters
3. Setting
4. Basic summary

Here is my NaNo Novel Basic Outline Elements:

1. The Day the Computer Stood Still
2. The Computer, The Teacher, The Politician, The “God Complex” Programmer, The Supporting Character, The Dissenters, The String of Embarrassing Ex’s
3. Sarasota, FL
4. The federal supercomputer was meant to catch felons but fell in love instead. How can there be peace when humanity’s watchdog is surfing dating sites instead of catching criminals?

Perhaps you are more of a planner but are not quite sure how to make an outline. Have you checked out scrivener? It has helpful software tools to organize your writing and help you as you write. There are many other methods, more or less detailed for making a more or less detailed outline. 

Check out the snowflake method by Randy Ingermanson
Or go through this writing exercise, courtesy of Casz of the SnoValley Writes

1. What distinguishes your protagonist from other people

2. What strength does he/she/it have
3. How does this strength get them in trouble
4. In opening action, what is character on the brink of doing?
5. Why do they say they’re going to do this?
6. What does this action represent for the protagonist?
7. What external situation will require protagonist participation throughout the book
8. How does this connect with number two above (when novel opens what is your character on the brink of doing?)
9. Does it help or interfere, can you build in a deadline for extra tension?
10. what is the protagonist goal for the time the book covers?
11. How does this connect with external situation? or does external situation divert protagonist from his/her goal
12. why does protagonist say he/she wants the goal?
13. is there a deeper motivation as yet unknown to your protagonist
14. what problem/external conflict does the external situation present?
15. How can the protagonist eventually resolve that conflict
16. list at least three obstacles in the way of your main character resolving the conflict (at least one is internal)
17. How will the protagonist grow because of confronting these obstacles? (turning point)
18. what do you want to happen at the end of the book
19. what will have to happen to the protagonist against his or her will to make your ending come about?