But anyway, here goes.
Note: I do not have a working blurb when I start working on my outline. That comes after; easier to summarize the story when everything's done.
Step 1: I work on character profiles and back stories. (Everything in blocked quotes are what's exactly written on my outline)
MJ - Michael James Cartwright - long brown hair, tomboyish, likes to wear checkered polos, tank tops, faded jeans and sneakers. Violet eyes.
Her mother Madeline was supposed to have a son, but instead after three miscarriages she gave her husband James a son. She hid this from him at the hospital so she could take the baby home. Madeline dies of illness when MJ is 11.
James considers her gender a blow to his manhood so he likes torturing her as "training" so she'll be strong like a boy, just without balls. MJ becomes scared of bikes because it's one of James' favorite torture devices. He'd use her for stunt practice. He also teaches her to steal and do everything bad for him.
When she turned 18, she left her father, armed with a scholarship, not knowing he's sold her to a maniac millionaire.
She chooses Helios' school because of him.
When she was 16, she was out taking photos and saw him use his bike to save a man, performing a stunt like her dad's but for good. Something about him liberates her from fear. It's what you do about life that matters. Doesn't matter where you begin, it's about where you end up.
So she waits the next day for the newspapers, sure that it will be covered by media.
And there it is - Helios Andreadis.
Sometimes - like the part that I underlined - there are also stuff that do happen but I don't end up writing much about in the book.
Step 2: I outline chapter by chapter. I don't always get to follow my numbering, but it still helps me figure out how to best end a chapter. When I end a chapter, I do it in such a way that it would make the reader want to read the next chapter. I may be wrong, but I think I learned this from Stephen King's On Writing, one of the most brutally effective writing manuals there is.
Step 3: When I start introducing new characters, I edit my outline to include essential details. This is to ensure that I'm consistent with names, positions, ages, physical descriptions, etc.
President: Helios Andreadis
VP: Kellion Argyros (green eyes, 21)
Secretary: Yuri Athanas (light blue eyes, like an angel, 20)
Treasurer: Andreus Economou
Practice day. He sees her jumping all the time and all the girls laugh at her for it. What kind of girl applies for a club but is afraid of bikes?
K: Someone who loves a guy enough to conquer her fears?
It's Yuri's first time to talk to MJ. He asks too many questions. She's scared they'll find out about her past and hold it against her. But as it turns out, he already knows - even about Helios. Simple deduction.
H, jealous. He snaps at her and shames her in front of everyone. She leaves, cheerful expression but cries in the kitchen.
K: She must love him very much.
Step 5: You'll also notice in the example above that I've included feelings and thoughts of characters. This is to remind me where the character's coming from when she / he says a particular thing.
Step 6: I also do my best to include time frames. This is one of the hardest things for me when writing, to be honest. I sometimes forget how much time has passed since X did what or since X and Y met. So, if possible, I include time frames. When I re-read what I've written so far, I consult my outline to see if I'm consistent with my story's timeline.
They avoid each other. She's been with them for over a month now.
She's miserable, wonders if he hates her. She stays away from him in the party, sticks with Yuri, who's amused because he knows she's taking photos of H all the time.
Astrid's been coming by for days now. She's one of the models hired to interact with the club for the photo shoot. She watches jealously at how great Astrid is at bikes. Grrr. She's going to practice.
Dinner. She doesn't talk to him. Bobby gives her a tip.
Are you really avoiding me?
MJ: She rides so well, doesn't she?
H: Better probably than you can ever ride in your entire lifetime.
MJ: I don't think so. I can... omg omg omg am I going to do this?
I can ride you. Better than she ever can.
"You're mine now."
"Who's your secret crush?"
She's afraid of giving him too much power over her. "Does it matter? I'm yours now."
"I will kill anyone who touches you. Anyone."
99% of time you will note that my books are very steamy, but not always - in Click (Book 3 of Helios and MJ), for instance, that only has one major intimate scene between the H/h. The reason for this is because they're apart almost throughout the entire book. I'm sure this has disappointed readers, but in the end, it was what I had to write because it was how their story unfolded. However, this raaaaarely happens - as much as possible, I really make it a point to do what my readers want. Most of the time, what they want is what I want, too, anyway.
Step 8: For the story's climax, the more detailed it is, the better. When I've reached this part of the story, I make sure that even this part of my outline is able to bring tears to my eyes or it can at least jerk some heart strings. If it doesn't, then I know I haven't done my job.
Everyone is tense. He's so jealous he forces her to ride a bike. Prove that you love me.
So she does, even when she's crying so hard she does.
Yuri arrives - wtf are you doing?
Yuri carries her away from the bike.
H: So it comes out. You're the secret love and you've got some twisted shit going on, letting me---
Y: It's always been you, fucking idiot. She saw you save a man one day, thought you were an angel. Yeah right. Fucking demon, forcing her to do something when she's terrified to death.
Helios starts to apologize...
My father used to do this. It may seem like I keep doing it for fear. But I keep doing it because I want to show him I love him. I want to prove to him how much I love him. I don't want to force you to love me like that.
It was so rare for her to hear him speak her name. Why now when there was no need for it? She whispered, “My father used to ask me to do this…thing.” She didn’t care if he didn’t understand her. This was the only time she would speak to him about it, the last time she would ever talk to Helios again.
“And I would do it. I used to think I was doing it out of fear.”
Helios had whitened at her words. He knew that MJ likely thought he didn’t understand her, but Dio, he did. He fucking understood her now, and he would pay for what he had done to her for the rest of his life.
She shook her head.
Relax. Lie down. And keep your eyes open.
That was how she had survived.
She would survive this, too.
So slowly, she made herself turn to Helios and meet his gaze. “I used to think…it was only because I was afraid of him. But I realized…it wasn’t that at all. I kept doing it because I wanted to show him I loved him---” Her voice broke at the last word.
She looked at Helios, and unshed tears choked her voice. “I wanted to prove to you that I love you, but that’s wrong.”
“No, dammit, no.” Helios grabbed her hand and pressed it to his lips. He felt so fucking scared by how she was talking. It couldn’t be the end. She had to understand he had only been afraid, but now he knew the truth. It wouldn’t be like that ever again.
But the pain in her eyes made him feel like he no longer deserved to speak.
She whispered, “I’m so tired of trying to earn someone’s love. I don’t want to do it anymore.” She forced a smile. It was so hard to smile when she felt like her heart had just died. But she had to. “So President---”
That last term felt like a knife stab. He whitened even more, and he gritted out, “Don’t call me that---”
“Could you let Astrid know I’m relinquishing the fight for you?”