Anne with more on outlining. Outlining a novel can never for me be the complete story. I want to discover as I write. I am too much of an instinctive writer to ever trust a complete outline in advance of any novel.
What I want more than anything is a road map to get going, a sense of destination, a guide as I plunge into the messy process of discovery. So I suppose I will always be balancing the need to outline with the respect I have for the organic growth of any plot or character. Outlines have helped me most with the opening chapters, or with the concluding chapters.
But most of the time, when I begin a novel I simply don't know enough to outline all of it. My characters have to be interacting, experiencing, talking, for me to know what really works. So my novels are never neat, never clean. They're always sloppy, and filled with twists and turns, with off the cuff observations, and trips into sensual experience. I like it that way. I like that when I read too. Much as I am thrilled by the abstract minimalist and disciplined prose of Flaubert or Hemingway, I am far more thrilled with the great sloppy genius of Dostoevsky or D. H. Lawrence.