I found this blog post on Seekerville very interesting; it's about "Rewards Per Page." The idea is to write a book with something on every page to "reward" your reader--a joke, a fact, a fun interaction. The idea is a good one for people (like myself) who write with a goal of entertaining. At the very least, it served as a reminder to write what you'd love to read, and don't be afraid to tweak the story or even do something that might seem gratuitous (random kidnapping, anyone?), if you (and the readers) will find it compelling.
As to my writing progress, I'm working on finishing my 25-paragraph outline. Lately I think God's given me more of a passion for the work, which is exciting. I spent two hours planning Monday...considering I work full-time, that's not bad.
Though my outline wasn't at all as polished as I would have liked, I ran the first five paragraphs or so past my sometimes-co-author Maggie, who has an absolutely brilliant mind for finding inconsistencies and noting what just plain doesn't make sense. Her prodding questions made me rethink my introduction (paragraph 1 of 25), which I will now consolidate into fewer scenes, which should greatly strengthen the story. (Come on. Why does the lead need to start sobbing in a bathroom stall, anyway?)
Maggie has also shown me I'm going to need to figure out some big-picture stuff--since I'm more of an "idea" person, those specifics can really trip me up. Her advice is always invaluable and I have a lot of editing/thinking/working ahead of me! With her help on the big picture, this may very well turn out to be my strongest novel yet.
I think every writer could use a Maggie. Do you have one?