For my last book I made a sketch of an outline, which kept me focused and helped on those days where I wanted to just stare at my computer.
But for this novel, I went a step further. First I used this template to keep my story focused. I also took each character and created a web for them with all their favorites, needs, desires, motivations, and such. Jenny Myers has a fantastic character questionnaire that I used too, which got me asking some tricky questions.
Finally, I read Donald Maass How to Write a Breakout Novel, which by the way is excellent. Everything he had to say was spot on but what I liked best about his book were the examples he gave. It brought the concepts he wrote about to life. I also got the workbook that goes along with the book and I’ve been using that as well.
So, with all these tools, I’m ready to start writing! Better head back to my novel and start FAST DRAFTING!