If you're completely new to this, I'd suggest to look up Guide Number (GN) on wikipedia. That should get you off on the right track, understanding how much light you get at what distance.
Besides that, you need to understand [maximum] flash synch speed.... particularly if you plan to use the flash for daylight fill.
Once you're done with that homework, then you'll find the rest easy to follow.
TTL is all well and good and convenient but it's still worthwhile to understand how the decisions are made. That'll allow you to understand your own compensation values etc. And it's not difficult at all.
Instead of relying on bounce for your primary (typically on camera/bracket) flash, I highly recommend picking up a Fong diffuser or fashion your own similar implement. But the Fongs are pretty damn useful. My only complaint is that mine kinda turned slightly bluish after a while. Anyway for secondary flashes e.g. off camera and remotely triggered, I usually just bounce off the ceiling, if it's white and not too high.
The Fongs also work well for daylight fill.
Oh and as was already mentioned, no need to trick TTL, it measures TTL
Oh how I love natural light....