Well, it's better than saying "Update" again, isn't it? (Where's the emoticons when you need them? I need a grin that looks better than :D)
FINALLY got that problem with African Firestorm figured out and that's back on track. Which leads me to what I call "Pre-work."
Don't bother looking for the term, because its one I use to describe what goes into writing a story before I even start. The research, thinking out the basic story, deciding on what elements to include, how the characters should be (in general) and so on. Some people like to write it all down and some just keep it in their minds. I fall into the last group but try to make it up with the summery.
I find that I work best when I write detailed summaries what happens in every section of the book. That allows me to get the chapters laid out, make sure I include everything i need to. When I'm done, I can read it over and make sure I have everything,
I am not a compulsive note taker, and for most of my short stories, write by the seat of my pants. I'm getting better at actually thinking stories through before committing them to screen, but I'm not there yet.
For for a real novel that isn't fanfiction (I've done a couple of those, look for me on Mediaminer.com under trboturtle and you'll find them), pantsing it isn't going to work. For one, I'm not the only writer on this novel. Rick Chesler's the man who came up with Outcast Ops, and he's the one who has to fix my screw-ups and my meandering. I'd rather not have him working overtime on what should be him just rewriting enough to make sure it flows with the other OO novels.
For another, people are going to be reading it, looking for some good adventure, not a rambling stumbling pile of story. That means working out any and all major story points before tapping away at the keyboard, to try and avoid all that.
And as I just found out, writing myself into a corner is a lot easier to correct when it's only a summery, as opposed to be writing the scene out. I figure that I'm going to have to add another two chapters, move Chapter 42 back to Chapter 44, and rewrite it to reflect the new situation, The summery is a lot easier to rewrite and adjust than a full blown novel. The more solid everything is before starting, the easier (in theory) the writing will be.
So, take it from someone who's learning the hard way, be sure of the story, then write. I'm use to write then find the story in the words already written. We'll see how it goes......