Today I received a discussion question about writing an outline for a first draft of a novel/story. I thought I would post my reply below.
I don't always do an outline to start, usually I get an idea for a scene and then write in a radius around it. When it gets to the point that I need structure, I will do an outline to organize it. My favorite tool is a big dry erase whiteboard. My action adventure novels go from country to country, so I like to write the chapter number, the day of the week, the country and the major events that occurred there. That helps me to control the flow of events better and not lose a day anywhere!
I know that's not exactly an outline, but it is a tool, and I hope it's helpful.