I’m a sucker for the classic image of The Writer. She sits at huge oak desk before a bay window, gazing intently into the rain, and then types furiously on her bright red Royal typewriter. She reaches absently for her ever-steaming mug of tea while her cat twines between her legs. And then she types again.
At the end of the day, she cranks out the last sheet of paper and lays it neatly on the stack. Wrapping it in brown paper and tying it with string, she mails it off to Penguin to become an immediate classic. She’s no plotter, The Writer. She pantses her way to brilliance every time, throwing a balled-up sheet of paper into her square wooden wastebasket simply because her cat needs an excuse to knock over said wastebasket and bat something around.
I’m no plotter, either. I pants my way from “Once upon a time” all the way to “The end” in my first draft. But even us diehard pantsers need structure.
After I draft, therefore, I create a spreadsheet scene list. In this list I record:
1. Page numbers in scene
2. Scene number
3. Location of scene
4. Date and time of day of scene
5. The point-of-view character (and if I switch POV, I add another entry for scene 29b)
6. The main action of the scene (in one sentence; if it takes more than that, I know I’m trying to do too much.)
7. The emotion I want to evoke
8. The hook that leads to the next scene.
Armed with this info, I can rearrange scenes to my heart’s discontent, creating both consistency and variety. If I have three ten-page scenes back to back, I insert a small interlude for variety. If the same character controls POV for 40 pages, I rewrite a scene from another perspective. If my hero ends a scene by falling asleep, I know my reader will too.
If you are a plotter reading this, you’re probably rolling your eyes. Turn back to your beautiful white board with its neat rows of multi-colored post-its, because I’m not talking to you.
If you’re a pantser like me, this is the minimal structure I feel we can get away with and still create a story that feels creative and spontaneous. Fear not: a scene list is not “plotting.” If anyone ever accuses you of that, throw a wad of paper at her head.
Keri was raised in southern Missouri and has lived in Germany, Arizona, North Carolina and Kentucky. Along the way she acquired degrees in writing and German, a romance hero of her very own, three sons, two miracle cats and a mutt who licks her when she speaks German.
Her husband gave her a Jade Lee novel--her very first romance. A few years and a couple thousand novels later, Keri took up her laptop and began writing her own love stories.
By day, she's a mild-mannered yoga and Oriental dance instructor. By night she creates mayhem and magic in small-town paranormal romance novels like her award-winning debut, Stone Kissed.
When Delia Forrest talks to statues, they talk back. She is, after all, the last of the Steward witches.
After an arsonist torches her ancestral home with her estranged father still inside, Delia is forced to sell the estate to pay his medical bills. Her childhood crush, Grant Wolverton, makes a handsome offer for Steward House, vowing to return it to its former glory. Delia agrees, as long as he’ll allow her to oversee the restoration.
Working so closely with Grant, Delia finds it difficult to hide her unique talent—especially when their growing passion fuels her abilities.
But someone else lusts after both her man and the raw power contained in the Steward land. Soon, Delia finds herself fighting not just for Grant’s love, but for both their lives…