Tuesday, September 30, 2008

5 Tips for Finding Time to Write

When you're working from home it's easy to let the laundry, lunch dates and the Lifetime channel cut into your time. If you're intent on writing a salable novel it's even tempting to scrub shower grout. It's not that you don't want to write it. It's just that you're scared. Scared that you'll either fail miserably or have an off the chart success on your hands. Get over it! It's time to bite the bullet and write your novel, short story, family Christmas letter or whatever you're working on.

If you want to find time to write try these tips.

  • Before you can find time to write you need to get real with yourself about how you're spending your time now. And it doesn't even require a stint on the Dr. Phil show. There's a great tracker at mindtools.com. Yeah, it's a pain but if you'll fill it out for a few days, I guarantee you'll find time you didn't know you had.

  • A friend of mine has great success with an egg timer. When she begins a task, whether it's writing or house cleaning it helps to have a deadline. If you know you only have to devote ten minutes to folding laundry it'll fly by.

  • Make a weekly menu. HUH?! You heard me. How much time is wasted at your house deciding what you'll have for dinner, making extra trips to the store during the week for forgotten items or going out to eat. You'll not only save hours every week, you'll save a lot of money too.

  • Set goals. Okay you've heard this one before. Me too. But, you can't just say, "I'm going to write a novel next year." Create a timeline. When will you have it plotted, how many pages a day will you write, how long will you give yourself for rewrites? Hold yourself accountable.

  • If you can't write at home go to the coffee shop, library or park. I wrote one of my best pieces in the waiting room of a tire shop. If you suspect you'll be waiting somewhere for awhile take along your laptop or a good old yellow pad and a #2 pencil. Or you could spend your time looking at outdated issues of Field & Stream.

If you've got any timesaving tips for writers let us know about them. We need all the help we can get!!

Monday, September 29, 2008

10 Minute Workouts for Writers

If you're a writer chances are you spend most of your time at your desk, the dining room table or down at your local coffee shop pounding away on your computer. Even if you do make it to the gym three times a week it may not be enough to counteract all the time spent sitting. So why not give ten minute workouts a try? If you'll do them throughout the day you'll be more alert and productive throughout your workday.

These are my top 5 ten minute workouts for writers:

1) If the weather is nice take a ten minute walk. Just walk as quickly as you can for five minutes and then turn around and come back.

2) Take a ten minute dance break. Put on your Boogie Shoes and Do the Hustle or the Achy Breaky Heart. You'll have a smile on your face and have energy to spare.

3) Do ten minutes of yoga. Pull up this YouTube video for a ten minute session of standing balance poses.

4) If you have something more strenuous in mind try this 10 minute interval training video also courtesy of YouTube.

5) Dust off your treadmill/elliptical/mini-trampoline and go for it in ten minute bursts. Who said you can't use it if you're not working out for an hour?

If you're not inspired by any of these options there are some great 10 minute workout videos available. You can check them out at my Amazon store or click the links below. Whatever you do make sure to take a 10 minute workout break at least every couple of hours.

10 Minute Solution: Blast Off Belly Fat

10 Minute Solution: Fat Blasting Dance Mix

10 Minute Solution: Rapid Results Pilates

10 Minute Solution: Tone Trouble Zones

Friday, September 26, 2008

How William Shatner Can Make You a Better Writer

Okay, so maybe he won't personally make you a better writer but his shows will. When you're writing a novel there has to be conflict, conflict and more conflict. Plus, you've got to keep more than one ball in the air (substitute subplot) at one time.

If you're ever stumped in your fiction writing put on an old episode of Star Trek. Not only did Captain Kirk have the Klingons imminent attack to worry about he also had a ship full of Tribles or was stuck on a planet and the transporter was down and some green woman was coming on to him. If you don't have the DVD's of Star Trek CBS supplies them free of charge here http://www.cbs.com/classics/star_trek/

If you're not a Trekkie then try out Boston Legal. I caught an episode the other night. Not only did they have a court battle going on Alan was pitted against an old love whom he still had feelings for, Denny was having impotence problems and his inventive ringtones were continually going off in court, and he was having problems procuring a cheerleader uniform from Shirley which he felt certain would solve the matter. And they wrapped it up in an hour.

So, if your novel seems droopy in spots catch an episode of Star Trek and let William Shatner show you the way to maintaining suspense. Just stay away from green women unless you're writing scifi.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Agent Interview: Evan Marshall, The Evan Marshall Agency

Evan Marshall owner of The Evan Marshall Agency reveals his pet peeves, thoughts on electronic readers and self publishing and a word of advice to new writers in this interview.

MP: I know that you don't like receiving novels that have a hero named Evan or manuscript submissions on pink perfumed paper. Can you share your top five pet peeves regarding manuscript submissions?


1. When it’s a type of book I don’t handle, like a children’s book or even nonfiction. Writers must to their homework when approaching agents, or they’re wasting everyone’s time, including their own.

2. When the cover letter tries to educate me about what the public wants, and why this book fits the bill. I hope that as an agent I have a pretty good idea of what the public wants. Let the book speak for itself.

3. When the cover letter says the book is designed for fast, easy reading or is “dumbed down."

4. When a manuscript reads more like an extended synopsis—showing rather than telling.

5. When a manuscript starts with tons of backstory and explanation, instead of launching right into the action.

MP: How do you feel the recent explosion of self publishing has impacted the industry?

EM: Self-publishing is an exciting development for writers, but many self-published books are of inferior quality and sell poorly. Every so often a self-published book is extremely successful and a traditional publisher picks it up. I would say this is the main impact of self-publishing: that these “gems” are given a test run that proves their appeal.

MP: Do you think electronic readers such as Kindle will increase the demand for books?

EM: Yes, I do. I know a number of people who now read more on their electronic readers than they did with traditional printed books. Anything that pulls in more readers is a good thing.

MP: Are there specific writer's conferences that you normally attend? Do you still do sessions on The Marshall Plan for Novel Writing at conferences?

EM: I don’t attend as many writers conferences as I used to, since my client list is very full and time is at a premium. But I sometimes attend the conferences of Romance Writers of America and Romantic Times BOOKreviews (as you can see, I handle a lot of romance!). I haven’t done sessions on The Marshall Plan® in a while, but I receive a lot of requests and may start again soon.

MP: When you're looking at taking on a new client is their writing the only important thing or does their ability and willingness to market themselves play a role as well?

EM: Yes, a savvy, aggressive promoter is quite attractive to me—and to publishers. Many writers have reached success largely through their own marketing efforts.

MP: What's your best piece of advice for a new writer?

EM: Target one genre of book—the one you most like to read—and read heavily and constantly in it to see what other writers are doing and to think up ideas that haven’t been done. Focus all of your efforts on selling in this genre. Don’t jump around.

If you'd like to learn more about Evan Marshall's Template Generator or his views from an authors stand point take a look at these articles:

Author Interview: Evan Marshall
Software Review: The Marshall Plan for Novel Writing Template Generator

Book Review: Making A Literary Life by Carolyn See

I've got to say this book had a huge impact on me as a writer. It's not so much about the technical aspects of writing as it is about pursuing the literary life you've dreamed of. And she does it with a generous sprinkling of wit while hitting home with the blatant truth. For instance, she tells us "Your girlfriend, boyfriend, or spouse will put up with this writer-talk for weeks, months, or even years, but none of them will love your for it. Your writing, to them, is like a case of genital herpes. It's possible for them to love you, but they'll have to overlook the writing."

She's divided the book into three parts. Part One tells you how to find your voice and genre. It also sets you on a path to writing a thousand words a day, five days a week for the rest of your life. Part Two is more about the mechanics of writing. But it is served up with a healthy dose of wit Part Three will guide you through the publication and marketing of your first book.

This isn't your typical regimented, chart driven, writing book filled with exercises, bullet points and side bars. It's more like having a conversation with the author. I can say this because I had the pleasure of speaking to Carolyn See and she is as charming in her book as she is to speak to.

One thing she insists on is that you write Charming Notes to someone in the publishing industry five days a week. Not to ask for anything but to simply share your appreciation of them. I'll admit that I was completely freaked out the first time I sent one of these notes out into the world. (On my personalized stationary as Carolyn suggested.) I was pleasantly surprised to receive letters from Sue Grafton and Janet Evanovich within the first couple of weeks. Since then I've not been afraid to approach any famous author and speak to them. After all they're writers just like us.

Thanks for the inspiration Carolyn!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Author Interview: Evan Marshall

Like many of us Evan Marshall has more than a full time day job and still manages to find time to write. He's also president of the Evan Marshall Agency and a software designer. Wondering what his creative process is? Read on:
MP: How long does it take you to plot a new novel?

EM: It takes me a solid month to plot a mystery, with all the twists, turns, and surprises to my satisfaction.

MP: After it's plotted how long does it take to write it? Do you find that it's easier/faster to plot/write subsequent novels?

EM: Writing the novel takes me approximately four months. Unfortunately, plotting never gets easier, because like many writers I’m always trying to top myself, come up with something fresh and different my readers will like. One thing that does help is the novel-writing system I devised some time ago—The Marshall Plan®—which I have presented in The Marshall Plan® for Novel Writing and several other books, and which I have just released in software form. The program is called The Marshall Plan® for Novel Writing Template Generator. It does the heavy plotting/structuring work for you, so that you’re free to be really creative in your story.

MP: Do you talk about your novel while it's in process or keep it close? If you share it, let us know who the lucky person is.

EM: I keep it very close. I find that no matter how much a story element might excite me, I can never quite convey it to other people, and their odd looks or well-meaning discouragement takes the wind right out of my sails. So when friends and family ask me what my book is about, I smile and say, “I don’t want to spoil it for you.”

MP: Do you have a group of first readers or a critique group you share the edited manuscript with? If not, how do you feel about critique groups in general?

EM: No, I have never worked with first readers or critique groups. The first person to see my manuscript is always my editor. I think critique groups can be quite effective if members are truly knowledgeable about each other’s chosen genre; otherwise, they can do more harm than good.

MP: How many revisions do you generally do before you're satisfied with the finished product?

EM: Once my manuscript is all down, I finally allow myself to print it out, and this is when the heavy editing starts. I do one extremely rigorous edit—changing things, moving things around, reinforcing elements, making everything consistent, planting additional clues—and key in all of these changes. Then I print out again and do what I call my medium edit; this most closely resembles the traditional manuscript edit. I key these changes in, print out again, and do what I call my cosmetic edit. Here is where I look for repeated words, overuse of adjectives or adverbs, and scenes that run too long. I keep editing and printing out until I literally can find nothing I want to change.

MP: What sort of marketing do you do for your books after they are published?
EM: Most of my marketing is done via my email lists and website. I find that the Internet is the perfect way to reach mystery readers.

MP: Other than The Marshall Plan for Novel Writing and it's attending Template Generator, what are the top three writing books on your shelf?

EM: It’s hard to pick favorites, but three that were very helpful to me early on were Structuring Your Novel: From Basic Idea to Finished Manuscript by Robert C. Meredith and John D. Fitzgerald; Guide to Fiction Writing by Phyllis A. Whitney; and Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Davd King.

MP: What's your next project?

EM: My next project is the third book in my new series, the Hidden Manhattan mysteries. The first book, Death is Disposable, is already out and I’m proud to say it has received wonderful reviews. The second book, Evil Justice, will be out in December. The series features Anna Winthrop, a New York City Sanitation garage supervisor with an eye for solving murders. But that’s all I can tell you now. I don’t want to spoil it for you. ; )

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Biggest Loser: 5 tips for WAHM's to Compete

All around the country office workers are setting up their own version of The Biggest Loser and the pounds are flying off. But what about us Work at Home Moms and Dads? Well you can do it too, even though you're usually flying solo. Here are 5 tips to get you started.

  • People who work at home have networks of friends and family the same as everyone else. Send out an email to all of your contacts and ask people to participate.
  • Either decide on a diet that everyone will follow or ask each individual to outline what lifestyle changes they'll be making.
  • Go to Qlubb.com or Yahoo groups and set up a site for all participants.
  • Have everyone to post measurements and weight. (Measurements are crucial because the inches may fall off faster than the pounds.)
  • Set a time frame for the competition.

There you go, you're own Biggest Loser competition and you didn't even have to leave home!

Software Review: The Marshall Plan for Novel Writing Template Generator

How would you like to write a novel that is so well crafted it grabs your reader by the throat, shoves them up against the wall and doesn't let go until they've finished it? If you're going to write it you'll need to plot and as I pointed out a couple of weeks ago plotting ain't for weinies.

While I was in the midst of my plotting angst I was fortunate enough to receive a copy of The Marshall Plan for Novel Writing Template Generator. I had used Evan Marshall's book to guide me in targeting a genre, determining word length, and number of scenes/characters. I had actually written my plot in the form of a word document instead of writing everything out on the scene cards he provides and thought I had it covered.

When I received the Template Generator and started plugging in my plot I found out differently. Using Evan Marshall's software program forced me to really think about some things that I hadn't realized were issues. It helped me to identify the need for two additional subplots and helped me to fill in some gaps in my story that I hadn't seen before. The program is easy to use and I can guarantee that I'll be using it to plot from now on.

Here's what Evan Marshall had to say about The Marshall Plan for Novel Writing Template Generator:

MP: The Marshall Plan for Novel Writing Template Generator is a natural extension of your books. Can you tell us how it came into existence?

EM: Ever since my first Marshall Plan® book, The Marshall Plan® for Novel Writing, came out ten years ago, I have received mail from writers asking if the system is available in software form. The system does lend itself perfectly to a computer program. Once I started to think about converting the system into software, I knew exactly how I wanted it to be, so rather than hire a developer, I took several years to teach myself how to program, and created the software myself. And it’s exactly what I wanted it to be—a program that helps you answer some key questions about the novel you plan to write, then generates a “template” or detailed plot structure for that novel, with the proper number of viewpoint characters, the idea number of scenes, and all of them in their proper place and order. It really works! And there’s no other program like it.

MP: Most of us are either left brained or right brained. Writing is definitely a right brain activity. How difficult was it for you to switch to the left brain activity of programming?

EM: I thought learning programming would be a nightmare, but I love it, because it’s actually more right-brain than people think. I found creating the software—deciding on its design, its look, keeping it clean and simple but effective—was extremely creative. I’m working on two more exciting new programs now.

MP: How long did it take to complete the software?

EM: All in all, about four years.

MP: What's your favorite aspect of The Template Generator software?

EM: That you can keep changing your mind about any number of elements—word length, number of viewpoint characters, whether to include a romantic thread, whether to make your antagonist visible or “invisible” (as in a mystery), and so on—and the program automatically readjusts your template. This feature makes it very easy for a writer to try out different ideas to see what works best.

MP: Do you recommend that people purchase The Marshall Plan for Novel Writing in addition to the Template Generator? Why or why not?

EM: The program is designed to stand completely on its own, so that it’s not necessary to read the book, but for people who want to reinforce some of the ideas in my system and read more deeply, it can’t hurt.

MP: Where can we purchase The Marshall Plan for Novel Writing Template Generator software?

EM: At my website: www.marshall-plan.com. There you’ll find a detailed explanation of the program and what it does, with numerous screen shots.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Author Interviews Coming Up

We've got some author interviews coming up in the next few weeks. Here's a short list of who you can expect.

  • Evan Marshall, author, agent, software designer
  • Pat Carr author of Death of a Confederate Soldier
  • Stephen R. Donaldson author of the Thomas Covenant series
  • Marilyn Collins author of Write History Right
  • Radine Trees Nehring author of the To Die For mystery series
  • J.A. Jance New York Times Bestselling Author

And lots of others. If there are any questions you have for these authors or any authors you'd like to hear from leave a comment and I'll see what I can do.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Myibay Auction Sniper and the Hotel Tower of Terror

I recently started to seriously collect Disney pins. I've got a few that I've purchased in the parks over the years but I decided that I wanted to focus my collection. So as I mentioned earlier I chose the Hollywood Tower of Terror event from 2004.

I also promised I'd show some of the pins. This great example is a Limited Edition of 500. It came in a black box with HTH on the cover in silver. This is a photo of the actual pin that I purchased from eBay. It's in immaculate condition and the photo doesn't do it justice.

The pin is based on the artwork of Eric Robinson a piece entitled "Lightning Strikes Twice". How do I know all of this? Because I looked it up on www.pinpics.com . If you're planning on collecting Disney pins this site is invaluable.

Also, as I've said before you'll need an auction sniper. My choice was Myibay Auction Bid Sniper. This tool allows you to enter your maximum bid, shut off your computer and go to bed. It will only bid in the increment necessary for you to win. It's very simple to use and they offer a free thirty day trial. I got mine from download.com and it's available for both Windows and in Firefox for Mac users. After the 30 days this simple to use program is only $12.95 with free updates for life. Best of all you don't have to give your credit card info up front. The trial is really free!!

Anyways, if your looking to do some serious bidding on eBay and need an auction sniper you should really check it out!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

School House Rocks! Still Going Strong

Photo courtesy of sodahead

I made the decision to buy the School House Rocks! dvd for my daughter when she was in elementary school. She was learning her mulitplication tables and after a few frustrating sessions I thought If only she could watch School House Rocks!. That was how I learned my own multiplication tables since it was conveniently aired between my Saturday morning cartoons. So I found the dvd and bought it for her. She had lots of fun watching it and it helped her learn her multiplication tables as well.

Last week I was telling my daughter, who is now a teen that I was thinking of introducing a bill to Congress. This was directly after the little incident with the telemarketer. She asked if I knew how to do that. I can find out I replied. You can always watch School House Rocks! she suggested. And she's right. School House Rocks! will even tell you the stages a bill goes through to get to Congress.
So I was poking around the net today and came across some cool puzzles and games that are based on the School House Rocks! series and thought you might be interested. You can download them for free. I also found out that some kids are producing it as a play for their school programs. How fun is that?! I'm just glad that one of my childhood favorites hasn't gone the way of Heckle and Jeckle. Don't know who that is? Well it was this cartoon that aired back in . . . . . never mind.

Anyways, they have the School House Rocks! soundtrack on CD and I'm thinking it'll make a great Christmas gift for anyone with kids in elementary school. They can just pop it in and they'll learn without even realizing it. If you've moved on to iPods or MP3's I've yet to find a place to download the album. If you know of a site then leave it in comments.

In the meantime, ROCK ON!!

Friday, September 12, 2008

How to Reduce Junk Mail and Telemarketing Calls

Are you sick of all those credit card offers and junk mail you're getting? How about those annoying telemarketer calls? Well here's some information to help you get off all of those lists.

  • First go to www.donotcall.gov and register all of your phone numbers. Include cell numbers and don't forget the kids numbers as well. The registration is now permanent. If you don't want to do it online you can call the registry at 1-888-382-1222
  • To reduce unsolicited mail you can contact the Direct Marketing Association at PO Box 643, Carmel, NY 10512 or print out an online form at www.dmaconsumers.org/cgi/offmailinglistdave. You have to print the form off and mail it in. It takes quite awhile but will stop some of the random mail that is sent your way.
  • Every year companies that you do business with such as insurance, loan instituions, and phone companies will send you a privacy policy. Don't pitch it! They often give your information to third party marketing companies. The privacy policy will contain a toll free number so you can opt-out of receiving any offers from those companies.
  • When you order online you are often added to mailing lists. If their is a comment box on their registration form specify that you do not wish to receive mailings. Sometimes they will have boxes giving you the option of receiving mailings. These boxes are often prechecked so make sure you uncheck them.
  • Keep in mind that any time you sign up for a drawing you are putting yourself on a mailing/call list. Make a note on the back of the form that you don't wish to be included on their mailing list if the prize is too good to pass up or ask if you can give them an email address instead.
  • Contact he four major credit bureaus and opt-out of the credit card prescreens that generate all of those credit card offers. You must do this for every name you are receiving offers for. Experian, Equifax, Innovis and TransUnion have joined together to create a website to make this easy. Just go to www.optoutprescreen.com and fill in the information. Check whether you wish to opt out for five years or permanently and send.

You'll have to do this everytime you move or change phone numbers to keep your junk mail to a minimum.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Plotting: It Ain't For Wienies

If you've decided to write a novel then you'll be needing a plot outline. Don't like outlining you say? It stifles creativity, you say. Well perhaps you're a little like me and the thought of plotting a novel scares the daylights out of you. Well, get over it. If you'll take the time to plot your novel you'll have a much richer book and it won't stifle your creativity as much as it will focus it.

These are the first steps I went through after I had an idea what my novel would be about. I hope you find them helpful and please share any plotting tips the you have in the comments. We need all the help we can get.

  • In order to plot a novel you really do have to take the time to decide on a genre and read several books from that genre. I chose romantic suspense and I've got to say my favorite romantic suspense author is Brenda Novak. The woman can plot like nobody's business. I know you're ready to write the darn book now while your Muse is calling. Tell her to go out for a spa day and pay attention.

  • Notice who the publisher is, what the book length is and if possible look up their submission requirements. Google Rules!! Then break down one or two novels by scene. No need to create a spreadsheet. Pen and paper will do. How many per scenes per chapter and per viewpoint character? At what point do we see the major complications come into play? Brenda appears to be a Marshall Plan kind of girl.

  • Okay, so that will give you a book length and genre. I used The Marshall Plan to help me determine the number of scenes needed, number of viewpoint characters and where to insert major complications. I'll admit that I've had the book for awhile and it scared me to death the first time I read through it. It seemed like it was too detailed so I did the NaNoWriMo thing which was a great experience but not very structured.

The Marshall Plan isn't the only book I studied. Yes, studying. You know, like you did in school. Because, contrary to what you may think writers aren't some cosmically gifted group who plop down in front of the computer and start spitting out perfectly worded, perfectly plotted masterpieces. They've studied and sweated and learned their craft.

I'll put up some reviews of the plotting books I've studied and what I've gotten from them. In the meantime, gird your loins and wade in. Figure out your genre, target publisher/agent, and target page length.

See, I told you this isn't for wienies!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Interview with the Author: Barbara Youree

I had the pleasure of interviewing author Barbara Youree. Her latest book, Courageous Journey is a narrative non-fiction book about two of the Lost Boys of Sudan. Her book details how Ayuel and Beny, who were ages 7 and 9 when their villages were bombed, survived and came to America after spending 14 years in refugee camps.

MP: You began your career as a fiction writer. How difficult was it to switch to non-fiction?

BY: I find little difference in writing this type of narrative nonfiction and fiction. My fiction, which is always set in a foreign place or an historical time, has always required research. The 2 big problems in writing Courageous Journey for me: 1) getting the guys to reveal their emotions and enough detail to round out the story. The last year they told me it was just too hard at first. Then they started sharing more. 2) Two of the minor personages in the story suddenly (at the last minute!) decided they didn’t want their stories or pictures in the book. I hadn’t anticipated that and should have talked to them all along instead of just hearing their stories from Ayuel & Beny.
MP:What is your writing process?

BY: The idea for a story starts in my head and often stays there working its way to the fore for months or years. That’s where the arc of the story begins. Then when I start writing and doing research, new ideas come to me. I either write or work on publishing or marketing from 4 to 6 hours a day.
MP: How was writing this book different from your fiction books?

BY: Writing Courageous Journey was deeply personal and emotional. I’ve come to really love these guys and their friends, as well as other Americans around the country who know them. It is a very exciting adventure also.
MP:Some authors believe that belonging to a critique group is a good thing, others disagree. How do you feel about critique groups?

BY: I couldn’t write and get published without my writing critique group. They support me in every way—through all the disappointments and successes. They tell me honestly when they don’t like one of my characters (when I do), so I can change them, what works and what doesn’t. It’s important to find a group where you fit, where everyone helps each other and you all grow together. Avoid any group where you detect jealousy, where someone dominates the conversation, or people don’t take their contribution seriously.
MP: Are you planning a new project? If so, what will it be?

BY: I’ve had an idea to write a YA book set in first-century Greece about 2 young men who race in the Olympics for over 10 years. After two trips to Greece, the outline and characters started coming into focus. When I started researching the time period, I discovered Nero was about the age of my characters, the Jews had been run out of Rome by Claudius and were settled in Corinth. St. Paul just happened to spend 2 years in Corinth at that time (49-53 AD), so that’s where my characters live. I am putting all the historical folk in the mix. It will be titled Race for Glory.
If you'd like to learn more about Sudan and the Lost Boys you can check out Barbara Youree's blog Sudan Faces.
All proceeds from this book will be donated to charity.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

So You Want to Write a Novel

Okay, so my first question is, ARE YOU NUTS??!! The correct answer is yeah, maybe a little. Writing a novel is akin to painting the exterior of your house with your kid's watercolor brush. It's going to take a long time, you're to going miss spots and you've gotta have a plan or you'll never finish it.

That being said, I'm nuts too because I'm about to start a novel and it's not the first time. My friend and I decided to do the NaNoWriMo thing a couple of years ago. We wrote furiously and at the end of thirty days had each produced a novel length work. Note that I said novel length. I say this because it wasn't actually a novel.

Come to find out No Plot is a problem. But, that being said, I'm glad I did it. The experience taught me that I could write that many words about one thing and not all of those words were bad. It also taught me that outlining is my friend. Possibly my best friend.

I'll be posting about my foray into plotting/outlining a novel over the next few weeks. Feel free to share your plotting tips here in comments. We'd all like to hear about them.