knowing what the story is about, who is it about, and where is it set.
then I figured out the character background and their past before the story started in 1st chapter,
and most importantly, knowing what 'drove' their characters (their main motivation in life)
so I know what they gonna say, what they wanna say, how they're saying it, the character start to come alive, sort of
I also outlined the plot points at this point
then I thumbnails a bunch, with clear idea of whats gunna happen, before I put all these thumbnails together into one page
then moving on from that