Making It Work For Me

I’m making good progress on my manuscript. It’s not going as fast as I’d like, but it’s going much better than it did last year. Whereas I spent most of 2010 studying craft and figuring out my characters and plot, I’m getting much more written this year. That’s largely due to the fact that I spent so much time last year studying.

One thing I read about, and couldn’t wait to try, was outlining. I’ve always been a fan of outlining. It was my preferred method of note-taking in college. I use it to format all of my articles. For some reason, however, I’d never used it with my novels. I decided to give it a whirl this time, and things have never been better.
I decided to start with a notebook. Here’s my notebook for Callie’s story.
It matches my office.
As the cover implies, this is a scene-by-scene notebook of my novel. Every page gets it’s own scene. 
As you can see, each page contains specific, vital information. In the upper right corner is the day and time. I decide what the goal of each chapter is, as well as the setting. There’s also the conflict. Once I determine those things, I scribble out some ideas for what will actually happen, including which character’s point-of-view in which I’ll write (notice that this chapter switches POV).
Then, as I work through the notebook, I fold back the pages to make it easier to figure out where I left off.
I know, this isn’t the most interesting post I’ve ever written, but it’s pretty exciting to me. I’m so much more organized this time, and that not only keeps me writing, but it helps me write a better story. I’m much more confident this time. I can concentrate more on style instead of worrying about whether or not my plot has holes – I’m finding those during the outlining instead of six chapters later.
I’m now a big fan of outlining. I don’t know why I never did this before. In the future, I definitely won’t start a manuscript without an outline first. It’s just too much fun to get the kinks worked out before I flesh out a story. And it’s really nice to be able to carry the notebook around with me when I can’t have my laptop handy.
QUESTION: What tricks have you learned that have helped you find our plot holes (before you actually write them)?

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