I've had an idea for a novel in my head for a couple of years now. It started off small, but has gotten more and more complex the longer I let the idea simmer. I think I'm ready to start working on it. This will be my first attempt at something this large, and I'm a little unsure on how to go about it. My instinct is to start off by making a bunch of notes about the novel--when certain characters meet, when events happen, how characters react, etc. I've heard many people say they just start writing. I'm wondering if that's the route I should take. That's how I wrote my favorite short stories, but I don't usually let those simmer much. So I'm wondering, what do you all think is the best way for me to go about beginning my first novel? How do you do it?