I'm going to shamelessly plug a product that I just found for paper piecing (I'm sure there are others that are just as great, and I'd love to know about them, I just happen to have used this one). I would also love your helpful hints, since there are so many great ideas floating around out there.
For Jane's Spooktacular Swap, I decided to do witch blocks since I love this pattern from Sonja at Artisania. I was a bit nervous because when I did the gnomes, I hated pulling the paper off and it really pulled at my stitches. I decided to just buy a pack of "Perfect Piecing" and a tablet of tracing paper from Joann's and see if either helped. I hated the tracing paper because I couldn't get it to feed into my printer (but it's been useful for other things).
I loved the "Perfect Piecing" paper! I was able to easily print on it and it perforates and tears easily. I can also use my seam ripper along the edges and it just cuts away. It also didn't pull my stitches! I did my block for Adrienne this way and this witch without too much trouble. I still have another 11 more to go, so I'm glad I found a way to do the pattern I want without ripping my hair out. :)
I think you could also buy sew-on interfacing and cut it to 8.5x11 and it would work too. I'm going to try that next and see if I can save money that way.
p.s. Here are what my nine-patch blocks for the Spooktacular swap look like!