Here’s a very in-depth article from Writer’s Digest that helps you plan out a novel’s structure, character development, and other key points.
I find some of the recommendations too detailed. There’s a point at which authors have to stop worrying about minor details and allow the story to flow. There are two important things to remember when you start writing a novel:
1. You can’t fix it in your head. No matter what issue you’re wrestling with, you won’t be able to truly work with it until you have it on the page. Manipulating it in your mind doesn’t give you the same hold on the work. Put the material on the page where it remains fixed. Then you can adapt, adjust and revise.
2. Creativity is not logic. Writers need both skills to create a novel…and each skill is used at different times. Don’t allow the critical (logical) judge to ruin the flow state. Don’t allow the illogical creative flow ruin your revision process.