Status: Still in my head and waiting for the big R (retirement)
There is so much to learn. I loved Genene's blog and how someone actually has her beat as far as planning and plotting. Well, everyone has me beat. However, I hold a lot in my head. Even if an author does not write it down, or sketch it out, or plot doesn't mean the plot isn't there.
As for settings, I find when I write about an area I am familiar with, my descriptions are so much better. My first time travel book was set in southern Oregon. I grew up in that area and I know the flora, fauna as well as the geography. I know the mountains and the hills and where the kids went to hang out and do other non-mentionable things.
This time travel was also my first book that really caught an editors attentions. I sent it to Kate Duffy at Zebra and she loved it. Unfortunately, they weren't buying time travel. She told me to send her my next book. I did and she gave me a contract for two books.
Knowing your setting is so important to the development of your books. I heartily applaud those who can write it all down before they begin a project. I probably get about a quarter of the material written down then proceed.
So the question goes out there. How much or what do you plan where setting is concerned before you start a project?