There is a Method to My Madness: But Not Really

I’ve been asked to share my method of penning a story.
Here it is:

…there really isn’t one.

But this is how it works for me when I’m writing contemporary romance (with suspenseful elements). I also write romantic suspense and the plotting is different.

1. Inspiration Hits


Generally, it smacks me in the face during my early morning time with the Lord. I’ll see a face, hear a voice and a scene of some sort pops in my head. For example: When I wrote the Precious Gems Saga, I was reading Isaiah 54. “And I will make your pinnacles of rubies (Pigeon’s Blood was born) your gates of crystal (Crystal Gates) and your foundations of sapphire (Sapphire Foundation).” Each female character paralleled that particular jewel. I studied the stones and as I did, the characters developed.

After I wrote those three books, I knew it wasn’t finished. The characters weren’t ready to say goodbye just yet and new stories formed–with their children. The Wayward Children Trilogy, was born. 

2. Plotting


Plotting happens while I’m on the treadmill walking. Not when I run because I have to consciously remind myself to breathe. But when I’m walking, characters tell me who they are, what they’ve been through, what they want and how they think they should get it. I don’t alway agree with them, but what do I know? I see these things happen in live scenes. Like watching a movie in my head. The kind of music I’m listening to at the time sets the pace of the scenes I see.


I don’t always write the scenes down because I remember them, but sometimes when they say something very smart-alec or profound, that I can’t come up with on my own, I jump off the treamill and scribble it on a post-it. Or if I’m cleaning, I stop (great excuse to put the Pledge down) and find my post-its.

I rarely get the beginning scene right off-the-bat. The middle and ending happen first. Once I  have the basic structure and know who my characters are (because they tell me), I research anything necessary– which is always– and then I write.

3. Writing happens

Why yes, that is
my pink snuggie! Convenient
for writers who get cold!


Not really, I wish. I have to make it happen. I used to sit in a double size chair in our den with my laptop and skull candy. That’s where I wrote most of my manuscripts. I now have a sweet writing desk in my bedroom.
 I don’t need solitude, but I like it. I stuff my skull candy in my ears, crank up the music I’ve seen the scenes to and I disappear. Sometimes, I’ll play one song over and over for hours at a time. Writing is the only time I forget to eat.

I write all day on Tuesdays and Thursdays because I’m home and my kids are at school. On MWF, I get to come home at noon and write till I get the kids. I don’t usually write on weekends unless everyone goes to bed and I can’t sleep. Then I may work until 1 or 2 in the morning, especially if I’m nearing the end.

Somewhere in there, when it comes time for the twist, I stop and outline the rest of the novel. Just a paragraph for each scene to walk me through where I’m going, which will keep me organized, and then I bring it on home.


Now, my FBI Hornet’s Nest series is a whole other brand of cereal. The plotting is very different and more structured because it has to be in order to keep up with everything. I’ll write about that another time.
Have a great weekend!

 * The winner for Gray Matter, is Terri Tiffany! Congrats!

If you’re a writer, what’s the method to your madness? If you’re not a writer, what book are you curling up with this weekend?

7 thoughts on “There is a Method to My Madness: But Not Really

  1. I write in the evenings after my day job ends. Sometimes I can sit in the living room and write while the family watches TV. Other times, I'll sit at my writing desk in the playroom and write with Pandora playing music.

    I need to become more disciplined about writing daily, but that's not always possible.

    As for novels, right now I'm reading Dining With Joy by Rachel Hauck and loving it!!

  2. I can't think or plot when I'm running either. But yeah, cleaning, showering, or walking, ideas can really spring forth. 🙂

    Congrats, Terri!

  3. My ideas are usually sparked by something I see on TV or something someone says. After deciding it would work for a topic, I write it down, along with a few notes and then think about it for a few days. It slowly begins to take shape. Once I actually start writing it out it really begins to come alive. By the time I am finished it rarely resembles what I started with, but that is my method. I don't get to write as often as I would like because I am a full-time college student taking 24 hours this semester. I start my Master's degree next year, but the hours won't be as hectic. Hopefully, I can write more during that time.

  4. Lisa: One of my favorites is Pandora! I have lots of stations that set the mood. We really do have lots in common.

    Jennifer: All great places!

    Brett: Send me over some stuff you write! I love it. I'm going to have to link everyone to your blog because it's so funny!

  5. Thanks for giving us a glimpse into your madness, and I love the pink Snuggie! It's funny that inspiration and plotting comes to me in the strangest places. Sometimes in the shower, on a walk, at a Civil War event, and even at work. The writing happens in bed on a lap top or at the desk. Sometimes I set a mood, light candles and write in a bubble as I call it. I like to listen to music when creating but need silence when revising. Have a great weekend, Jessica! The sun is out here in the midwest today. Yay!

  6. Awesome glimpse into your writer's mind and methods. Love it! I get ideas and details everywhere, but much of the time it is while driving. Probably because it's one of the few times I don't have my ankle-biter, well, biting my ankles. I love how music inspires your scenes. I tend to want silence (or I at least tune out the noise around me and pretend I'm in silence). Lyrics distract me from my own words, lol. I have a hard time thinking with too many things going on around me. Too much sensory input overloads my brain. Not a good thing. My best writing time used to always be while the kids were at school but now that I have another little one and homeschool another, that's all changed. Haven't really found my new rythym yet but I've been known to write in the midnight to 2 am window, naptime, or I take off for my corner coffee shop with my laptop. Snippets of time are what I think I'll be grabbing for the next couple years with the Little One being… little.

  7. I skipped this post and I'm a winner!! Thank you!!!!


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