On Indies Unlimited:
Okay, everybody knows about outlines. I used the letters-and-numbers version above. Bureaucracies, of course, like the specificity of decimals, “Please refer to section 22.214.171.124.” MSWord will automatically format these for you, if it doesn’t drive you nuts in the process by refusing to do it any other way.
I also freely admit that I never start my writing with an outline. But like Dean Lappi in his IU article, To Outline or Not to Outline, I always reach a stage in my project when I start an outline, because it’s impossible to keep it all straight in my head. My outlines in the past have been linear, like the left-hand column above.