Outlining isn’t something that comes easily to me, but I do work well with an outline–usually. If there’s any amount of time which elapses between those sketchy notes and me writing them, I’m as lost as I could be, possibly more lost than if I hadn’t written them at all. However, it takes a good deal of time to devote to writing a solid chapter.
I’ve come up with a way which works for me, and may or may not be, ahem, novel. The first step is the sketchy planning on 3×5 cards, covering a few cards if need be. The second step is to take a single subject notebook and write a thousand word chapter. This is approximate, but what it does include is : Important dialogue, movement, and character notes. What it does not include: flowery language, sentences that don’t make a grammarian wince, adjectives (unless they are a clue to something), and most things that make it into a polished manuscript.
The thousand-word chapter is an elongated, more legible outline. It has a readable storyline. It is choppy enough that you may cut out a section and drop it someplace where it works better, without having to rewrite anything. The thousand-word chapter also has this nifty thing: you can complete a whole novel in a month if you write a thousand-word-chapter a day.
Upon revising, you can fix plot-holes without sacrificing a lot of time. It is also faster to read through. One of my writing books calls a novel a “short story with padding”, so in theory you should be able to write your novel at absolutely any length you so desire it to be. Aren’t theories great? I’ve come up with this one due to all the work I’ve been doing revising (and revising and revising) my works in progress. I’ve also taken considerable time studying the works of other people–everything from popular hits to movies to classy literature. I’ve been collecting what I like and condensing it into my own guide. The thousand word chapter may not be what you need to use to work, but then again it might appeal to you.
Just thought this little insight might speak to someone else.