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My desk, during galley-proofing stage.

To Outline or Not to Outline?

The text of my February 2009 “Writing Tips” newsletter. If you’d like to subscribe, click here.

Okay, you’ve finally decided to sit down and write a thriller. As Robert Redford asked in the last line of The Candidate: “Now what?”

Outline or not?

This is the question I get most of all, whether by e-mail or at conferences: Do you outline or not?

Chocolate: No Excuses Necessary

February can be a grim month in New England. Temperatures are low, snow on the ground is filthy, and baseball Opening Day is still two months away.

The one ray of sunshine on the calendar is that holiday in the middle of the month – known as Valentines Day to some, but to us hardcore chocolate lovers, it’s Perfect Alibi Day.

“I’m not buying this for myself,” I can say. “It’s for my wife. No, my daughter. No, my wife and my daughter.” If an extra box of chocolate happens to make its way into my shopping bag, well, so be it.

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