Ever wonder how a fiction writer goes about writing?

Hi everyone! Today I’ve got Maggie Bishop on the blog talking about how she writes.

Here’s Maggie!

It’s different for everyone who writes stories.  Some are plotters who plot ahead, map out each chapter, use different colored post-it notes or highlighters for plot point, romance, character development, motivation, theme.  I tried that once and became bored with my own writing.


Others are “pansters” and write “by the seat of their pants”.  Character, genre and setting are usually known but everything else comes as the writer puts pen to paper or fingers on keyboard. This method involves rewriting and more rewriting

Most of us are a combination and fall to the right or left on the Plotter–Panster continuum.

There are rituals, just like baseball and other sports players.  Some drink tea first, use a special pen, write three throw-away lines. Tom Wolfe (Bonfire of the Vanities) dressed in business clothes, walked to the curb and back and began his work day.  He wrote three hours a day from nine to noon.  Prolific author.  Walter Mosley wrote first thing in the morning for three hours a day, every day.  He said it kept him in contact with his unconscious mind.

For me, I have to have a clear schedule and conscience.  Chat with mother, cats fed, bills paid, toilets cleaned, husband satisfied, exercise done – all potential distractions out of the way so my sneaky mind has no where to focus except the story.  Writing my fiction is a process of discovery of the characters, the action, the dialogue and of myself.  It is a merge of free writing and intent that flows through my fingertips and onto the page.  When I’m in the flow, the characters speak for themselves and act on their own with no direction from me.

Since I write a mystery series, the main characters evolve not only within the novel but over time with each book.  The setting is a mix of real locations in the North Carolina mountains around Boone and a fictional dude ranch.  Some of my minor characters are real people and I have permission to use their real names and photos (yes, there are pictures in my novels).  The plot has to brew in the back of my mind for months, like water building behind a dam.  Right now, one of the minor characters (Aunt Alma, dude ranch cook) has been bugging me.  Something about a cookoff at the ranch.  It’s almost time to release some of water from the dam and write.

Maggie Bishop is the author of a mystery series, Appalachian Adventure Mysteries, and two romance novels set in the Mountains of North Carolina in the Boone area. “I started with romance and have turned to murder.”

The Start: In MURDER AT BLUE FALLS, when her horse finds a body, CSI wannabe Jemma starts to investigate, Detective Tucker comes in and it twists and turns from there.

And Then: Since pay is low in the mountains, Jemma has more than one job and is also a carpenter.  In  PERFECT FOR FRAMING, trouble’s a-brewing in the Property Owners Association where greed and a lust for power lead to murder in a clash of personal versus public needs.


Now: The photography group meets at Blue Falls Guest Ranch and soon there is ONE SHOT TOO MANY which features Detective Tucker with yesterday’s regret haunts, leading to today’s deadly fix.

If you like whodunit mysteries full of clues and suspense in a vacation paradise, you can find these books on Amazon and other book and e-book retailers. Visit her Amazon Author page for more information about her and her books.  http://dld.bz/maggiebishopamazon     Friend me on http://www.facebook.com/maggiebishop and Twitter https://twitter.com/maggiebishop

Cindy here again! Thanks for being here with me, Maggie. The books sound very interesting. I’m actually a combo pantser-plotter.

What about you guys?

Until next time…