I can help with some questions. I always trim the skin and fat off, or you won't get much smoke flavor. I generally will render the fat down to lard, and if you search around YouTube, you'll find recipes on how to render the fat, and how to make crackling out of the skin.
If it is just the picnic, and not the whole shoulder; I wouldn't cut it in half. If by chance you have the whole shoulder, It would be better to separate the butt from the picnic.
I'm not one for using the FTC method. I generally will cook my butts ahead of time, until they reach the point where they are tender enough in which they can be pulled. After taking them out of the smoker I just loosely tent, and wait until they have cooled enough to be handled.
I find almost any wood flavor goes with pork, except for mesquite. My favorite wood for pork is pecan (hickory can be substituted), if by chance I don't have either of those I will go with apple.