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August 22, 2014



Dana, I'm the complete opposite. I'm a die hard plotter, with every single scene done as a summary before the novel gets written. And guess what? I still sit there, uttering the 'this-is-never-going-to-work' line!


For me, there's always at least one point in every book, when I wonder why I ever started it, or why I thought it was a workable idea, too. But somehow it does always come together. Writing is really a pretty magical process.

Elaine Viets

I outline my books, Dana. My latest is due next week and yesterday I realized the plot lines aren't working. So I sat down with my notes and re-outlined everything. Now I'm hoping I can make it work.

Dana Cameron

Elaine, that's what I've learned: It doesn't matter what your writing style is, only whether most of the fretting happens at the beginning or the end!

Kris, so true. It's a mystery how it happens. Every. Single. Time.

Elaine, best of luck!


I'm intrigued by the subtly dropped hint about a Horror project. Can't wait!


This is SO brilliant. And the conversation between you and James is WORD FOR WORD--I mean WORD FOR WORD!--what Jonathan and I say. This is incredibly reassuring.

I am going back to read this again. I might print it out. Thank you.

Hank Phillippi Ryan

In fact, right now I'm in the THIS IS SO DUMB phase. I hope someone else has that and it's not just me.

Dana Cameron

Kristopher, I can't wait to tell you! I had so much...fun? with that story. Maybe it's not fun to sit there and try to scare yourself, but it is fun to know you can! It was a wonderful experience.

Hank, thank you! And--yes, everyone has a "This is so dumb phase." I'm convinced of it, because otherwise, it's just you and me, and that would be HORRIBLE! Inconceivable! :)

My goal in writing this was to spell out for myself just what has to happen before I have enough to start editing the book into shape. I figure, it won't work every time, but if I can remember this once and a while, I may save myself (and maybe someone else) an hour or two of self-doubt, it'll be worth it. I have every faith you'll be on the other side of this in no time.


The first time I wrote anything novel length, it was pure pants. I mean pure. When I'd sense a slowing in the story, I'd go do a fast 3 mile walk, chat with a friend, whatever. Then when I sat down to write I'd say something like, "Karen rushed down the stairs, hurrying not to be late for...." Then I'd type, "...the phone rang. Karen paused wondering who it could be." And I'm thinking, you and me both, sister. ;) And it was the right person calling, with the right twist to get things moving again. I know that structure had to be somewhere deep in my subconscious, but I've always been afraid that trying to outline would jinx it for me. Now, I think I follow your process a bit more -- having numerous files and notes and scenelets, even just throw away lines that I know, know, a certain character would absolutely say. Truth is, it's time I start doing the writing on this book, fun as the snippets are. Sometimes I want to go back to short stories. For a pantser, they are so much simpler. ;)

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