Plotting a Mystery By the Seat of Your Pants

August 4, 2011

Tags: writing, plotting, mystery writing, plot structure

They say there are two types of fiction writers: plotters and pantsers.

Plotters are blessed with the ability to create complex plots from beginning to end; they write down a complete outline, whether in a loose synopsis, a tightly structured timeline, a series of index cards, or whatever, before they write Word One of the actual novel. Pantsers, on the other hand, can’t possibly think that far ahead, and take an idea, a situation, a setting, a character or two, with a rough idea of where the story is going, and just plunge onward, writing “by the seat of their pants.”

There are advantages to both of these methods, and which method works for you depends on what kind of writer (and basic personality) you are. I, for one, am a pantser. I write mysteries, among other things, and I couldn’t come up with the entire outline of a novel, particularly a mystery novel, even if you held a gun to my head. But if I begin with a basic idea, if I know (more…)


June 11, 2010

Tags: blogging, journals, writing

I never, ever claim to have a good command of spoken French, but I couldn't resist this multilingual pun. "Blague" means "joke" in French, and the thought of myself (formerly the teenager who could never abide the thought of writing endless self-involved musings in a diary) trying to write the high-tech equivalent of a journal is something of a jest. However...

Bienvenue/welcome! Here I'll be nattering on about historical fiction, the French Revolution in particular, writing historical mysteries, publishing, and any related matters that come to mind. I'll try to post at least once every other week, and also will host some guests from time to time. Please visit frequently, leave a comment if you wish, and stay tuned...

Selected Works

The Aristide Ravel Mysteries:
Stand-alone Historical Novels:
Biographical fiction about Charles-Henri Sanson, Paris's public executioner
A Writer’s (and Editor’s) Guide to Keeping Historical Fiction Free of Common Anachronisms, Errors, and Myths

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