Writer’s Blog

Hi Fellow Readers and Writers–

Today I’d like to discuss plotting VS not plotting.  I’m a devoted pantser (one who writes by the seat of her pants).  I seem to have an instinctual “feel” for how a story should go.  How did I get that “feel?”  It was from reading.  I’ve read a lot of books in my life.  I fell in love with the mystery genre when I read my brother’s Hardy Boy Mysteries.  I was hooked.

So, here’s the thing.  Read the genre you want to write in.  Read the best books and the worst books, because you’ll learn from all of them. 

I recently finished a cozy mystery that I’d grade a C at best.  By the middle of the book, I knew who the killer was and why he’d done the dastardly deed.  The rest of the book was spent wanting to smack the amateur detective and say, “Why haven’t you figured this out yet?  It’s so obvious!”  My other comment about the book was that the author was a young woman–maybe in her early thirties–and she was writing older characters.  Problem was, she made them out to be . . .I don’t know . . .in their eighties, when I think she meant to have them be in their sixties.  Apparently she doesn’t know that we sixty-something-year-olds are not “in our graves” just yet.  We’re vital, humorous, and full of life still.  Maybe she modeled her characters after her grandmother instead of her mother.  Who knows.

But I still learned something from this book, even though it wasn’t the best thing I’ve ever read.  I learned that I need to hide my clues better than she did, and I learned to pay attention to how people act at certain ages.  On the plus side, this book had some good recipes, and her descriptions were fair.

So, if you want to write, you have to read–especially if you want to write instinctively and not have to plot your book to death. 

Let me know if you found this helpful.  I’m happy to answer e-mails from fellow readers and writers.



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