Daily Archives: April 18, 2016

Fifteen Minute Monday

Today is the first real day since my last day of class. I gave myself the weekend to rejoice and even slept in this morning (I didn’t want to, dang it.).

I love teaching. LOVE IT. But I want to take some time to write–without other worries. (Hahahahahaha!)

Three Things I Plan to Do this Summer.

  1. Spend time with Carolina.
  2. Spend time with my momma.
  3. Spend time writing like a crazy dog. (Imagine crazy dog gif here)

This 15 minutes, though, has to do with how we write.

I’ve talked a lot about the way I write.

So here’s how a friend writes. Cheri Earl. She and I are writing an Adult Mystery Series together. (I know, right?) We’ve already figured out each book of this series of three. We know who the murderer is (sort of), in each book, know the bad guys, the good guys. Before Cheri and I met on Saturday, I’d even written the first chapter setting the novel up and introducing a body. I was raring to go. I felt we knew enough to write on.

But Cheri writes differently.

She went through each character asking questions.

What does he do for a living?

What about these women?

Where does she live?

Why did the first fella kill?

What is his job?

What are his quirks?

What do our main characters love to do?

What is everyone’s names?

Where do they live?

Are there children?

Why? What? Who? Where? When?

Cheri went through and asked all sorts of questions of every character. She questioned until our time ran out.

We argued about some things. Laughed about a lot more. She jotted down notes (I think it helps her process. She asks questions and writes at the same time). We  threw out ideas for the way the book would look, how it would clip along, how we would add detail and texture to the page.

“Is this how you always write?” I asked her.

“Yes,” she said.

It was cool to see her in action.

We have the direction for the first book in our series. We have the character descriptions. We have motive. We have a first chapter and even the first line of the 2nd chapter. We know where the series is headed. We even know plot points for books Two and Three. And how to keep the series going if readers like it.


Every book is written in a different way. (Even by the same writer. Each book demands its own way into the world.)

For this mystery I knew we needed to know more than I usually do when I start writing. In a mystery, says my dear friend Alane Ferguson (who won the Edgar for her first mystery novel, Show Me the Evidence), you have to know the end before the beginning. You must know who done it and why. So I’ve known this.

But rarely do I know any of that other stuff when I write a book on my own.

In fact, I usually start a scene knowing nothing.

I discover with the reader. (Sorta)

What is your preferred method of writing a book?

Let us know.




Filed under CLW, Plot, writing process