OMG - I let post 600 go by without starting up the chocolate fountain or holding a parade! There must be something wrong with me. I'm in serious celebratory decline.

But I have discovered something: if you ignore a work in progress long enough, it will creep up behind you and smack you over the head until you put your hands on the keyboard and start working on it again.

Hopefully the bruises will fade before my next public appearance. ;)

The reason for the head-banging, I think, is because I've been listening to a bunch of awesome workshops I have on CD from the Romance Writers of America National Conference. Yeah, Frisco baby, I'm reliving it without the balmy weather and tight elevator situations.

And all of these awesome authors, who have so openly shared their knowledge, have led me to a conclusion Michelle has been trying to tell me since I tried to write a murder mystery in which no one died: writing by the seat of your pants equals a lot of revisions.

I know this, but it just hadn't really sunk in yet. Then I thought about the last two novels I'd completed by pantsing. Sure, they're fabulous and all, but it took quite a bit of reworking and revising to make them as fresh and tasty as they are now.

Besides, when I get a book contract and have to write another novel in, say, six months, I won't have time for the additional five years of revisions. Gulp. My editor would actually expect the novel to, uh, be delivered on time. And actually work. Or at least be close to working.

So this "plotting and outlining" thing might be useful. Well, in order to stop the muse from getting all cranky and destroying the furniture, I used my time to write out (longhand) the outline for my current work in progress. Yes, the one I started during National Novel Writing Month -- where plots and outlines are verboten.

Sorry, just had to use that word.

The cool thing is that, even though there's an outline now, it's still flexible enough to let the pantster in me do a little bit of... pantsing. So I should be done this novel in... um, let me get back to you on that. I think the phone's ringing.

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