Monday, October 15, 2012
Guest Post & Giveaway with P.M. Terrell, Secrets of a Dangerous Woman
P.M. Terrell will be giving a $25 Amazon Gift Card to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour, stop by the other blogs to comment and better your chances of winning. HERE
Guest Post: Plotter or Pantser
Plotter or Pantser?
I suppose I am a little bit of both!
I begin the process by deciding on the crime. I am currently working on two different series: Black Swamp Mysteries involves CIA operatives so the plots take the characters around the world. My other series involves a homicide detective so the plots involve local crimes.
At the time I sit down and start writing, I know what crime will be committed and I will know three “points” : how the book will begin; a mid-point where everything that has been laid out takes a 180 degree turn; and the climactic scene.
Before I began my two series, I also spent time getting to know my characters so that everything that occurs in the book is plausible for each character’s distinct personality. With my series, I feel like I am settling in with old friends so the action can begin much more quickly.
But there are times when something unexpected occurs in a book and I find it takes me a different route. For example, when I was writing Vicki’s Key, the original intent was to make Dylan Maguire a more sinister character. But every time he opened his mouth, he made me laugh out loud. I couldn’t imagine where his dialogue was coming from. And when the editors and advance readers read the book, they loved him so much that he went from a one-book appearance to a major character throughout the series.
I find when I am more of a pantser, I write too many words and have to go back and strip out a good 1/3 of the book. But when I plot things more meticulously, I can be more concise and more in line with where I want to be each step of the way.
As I write, I begin a second Word document in which I place notes to myself. I can cut and paste and move things around as needed and when I go back through and edit the book, I delete each note as I make sure I’ve covered that particular detail. I very rarely use Post-It Notes or index cards, though once I had to pull off the road and type a note into my iPhone—a piece of dialogue that I was afraid I would forget.
“Who are you running from?” Vicki asked.
Brenda took a deep breath. “I am in trouble. Big trouble.”
“What did you do?”
“Depends on who you ask.” She took a deep breath. “I’m tired, Vicki. Really tired. I need to get off the street. Stay inside for a day or two. Regroup.”
“I’m living in Lumberton now. The woman who owned the house where I’m staying passed away. Her nephew inherited it.”
Her eyes narrowed. “Yeah? Where’s he?”
“I live with him. Come home with me. It’s a big house, three stories.”
Brenda frowned as if she was deep in thought. “It’s just you and him there?”
“His name’s Dylan. I’ll tell you all about him on the way.”
She half nodded. “He won’t be taken aback by you bringing me home? I’m a bit more to handle than a stray cat.”
“He’d love to meet you. I promise. He’ll take care of you.”
“He will, will he?”
Vicki blushed. “He’s got a strong sense of family. Besides,” she said as she started to rise, “it’s suppertime and you need to eat. We’ll get something in your belly and you’ll get a good night’s sleep.”
Brenda hesitated only briefly before she rose from the table. “You sure you can handle the intrusion?”
As they made their way toward the door, Brenda whispered, “I wouldn’t be too sure about that.”
p.m.terrell is the award-winning, internationally acclaimed author of more than 16 books, including Vicki's Key, a 2012 International Book Awards finalist, and River Passage, 2010 Best Fiction & Drama winner. She is the co-founder of The Book 'Em Foundation whose slogan is "Buy a Book and Stop a Crook" and the co-chair of Book 'Em North Carolina Writers Conference & Book Fair. For more information, visit www.pmterrell.com.
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