I’ve devoted a lot of my time and effort during the past few years to developing my advertising copywriting business to the point of where I can support my family and don’t have to depend on writing fiction for my income.
When I was a teenager, I got into SF, quite heavily, and that too has had a major impact on my writing.
For the novels I wrote before selling anything, I didn’t outline much. I had a vague idea of the story.
I’m a fan of short horror fiction… in fact, the most memorable horror I’ve read is of the short variety… but I have a hard time pulling it off myself.
Many of my short stories (all unpublished) were horror, and the novel I’d just finished was horror, too.
I got up with my wife, I sat down at the computer when she went to work, and I didn’t stop until she got home.
During that first year, I felt guilty that my wife was out working bringing in all our income, while I was at home playing on the computer, so I made myself treat writing like a job.
On the other hand, now that I’m not dependent on fiction for my income, I’ve been writing more short stories despite the fact that there’s no real paying market for short horror other than Cemetery Dance.
When I decided to take writing seriously, I did a lot of reading and analyzing of the books I liked, and came up with what I thought were pretty sound plotting and structure basics.
The benefit of this kind of outlining is that you discover a story’s flaws before you invest a lot of time writing the first draft, and it’s almost impossible to get stuck at a difficult chapter, because you’ve already done the work to push through those kinds of blocks.