Today I am taking down the war board for my newest novel, Dead Too Soon (out May 12, preorder now). The war board is a tool for keeping track of the overall plot for the novel-in-progress, see the examples below. When writing a story that's 75,000 words (Burned Too Hot), 85,000 words (Dead Too Soon), or a really outrageous 150,000 words (Codename: Chandler's THREE), it helps me to write a brief description of each scene on notecards. I use a different color card for each character's point-of-view, so I can see the direction of the story with just a glance. I always have liked maps, and this is my way of mapping my book before and as I write it.
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I do a lot of hands-on research for my thrillers. Take a look at some of my adventures and how I've used them in the books.