Well, things are going reasonably well at the moment *touch wood*
Whispers has been printed out. Final read throughs are underway. The synopsis and blurb are scheduled to be written on Friday. It will wing it's way to my editor on the weekend.
Time Out is still doing it's own thing, but seems to be enjoying itself so I'm not too concerned.
According to my to do list for the month I have 5 days left to finish this draft of it. I need to add 5-10k. There's also about 10k in the middle that really just meanders about without adding much to the story, so it needs to be re-written.
With this in mind, I've turned my wonderings for the day towards planning stories. I do find it useful to know what the basic point of each chapter is. Not pages of detailed plans, but a nice little paragrpah saying from X's point of view Y happens and this is important because Z.
The only problem is, sometimes it's impossible to know what the big theme of the story is until your on your third or fourth re-write, so planning before that is pointless.
During the writing process there is usually a moment of clarity - when the story clicks and, for the first time since you sat down at the computer, you have some idea what you're doing.
Take Time Out as an example. I usually start in the begining of a story and write until I reach the end. This time I re-wrote the begining of the story, now I'm added a whole new ending before I go back to re-write the middle. It turns out for this story, I need to know where they end up before I can work on the exact details that get them there.
Whispers was similar. I had to get to the end of the story before I could see clearly how it should have started and developed towards that ending.
Sometimes that's just the way it works.
I suppose my point is there's a difference between the most efficient way to write a book and the most effective way.
It would be efficent to sit down and plan the whole thing out and then just follow the plan.
But it's more effective to be flexible and listen to how the story grows and develops as you write it. I think you get a better story as the end result that way.
Just my tuppence worth for the day :)