Wednesday, March 14, 2012


You’d think after 40+ published books, I’d have this whole outlining and writing thing down pat by now.

Not so!

I’m just starting out on a new writing adventure–the first book of one of two new mystery series I’ll be writing for Berkley Prime Crime–and lo and behold . . . I think I’ve come up with a new way to keep myself from getting crazy.

You see, I’ve written series books before. The first were young adult horror books. Two series, three books each. Then I did a series for Harlequin American about a funky B&B. Three books there. Then, of course, I started writing mysteries. To date, I’ve done the Cooking Class series (5 books), the Pepper Martin mysteries (8 so far) and the Button Box mysteries (3 as of now).

And each time I write a new book in a series, I find myself asking the same questions:

Now, how tall was she again?
And what street did I say she lived on?
Are his eyes really blue? I could have sworn they were brown.

Lucky me, I’ve got a faithful friend and reader who a couple years ago, made a list of these sorts of facts for me for the Pepper Martin books. But let’s face it, I can’t always count on that kind of generosity.

So Monday, I decided to do something I’ve never done before. As I plot this first book in the League of Literary Ladies series, I’m making up a binder. So far, I’ve collected pictures of houses where I’ll have my characters live, and long lists of who’s who, what they look like and their personality traits. This way, I’ll always have an easy reference at hand.

It makes so much sense, it was one of those slap my forehead moments.
The good news? I’ll have everything in one place, so when I begin book 2 and 3 and beyond, there will be no more questions and no more floundering.

The better news? It seems like this ol’ writing dog can learn new tricks!


Shawntelle Madison said...

I'm on my first series and I'm already forgetting things. I think that's why I'm loving Scrivener. I have a place to write and a place to include notes for the whole series.

Casey said...

OK, admitting here what a Luddit I am. What's Scrivener? A software program? Sounds like what I've been looking for!

Shawntelle Madison said...

You can find more info about Scrivener here:

Check out how Monica McCarthy uses it. After I read that I was sold:

BW said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
BW said...

I love the picture of the dog but then again I love Cairns, Scotties and Westies. I have a 12 year old Westie.

The binder sounds like a great idea!


Sharon said...

I think when authors first start writing a book they don't think that it might turn into 3 + eventually so they think about writing all the details down. How could they ever forget this character and book! glad you have learned from your mistakes. Luckily there are lots of devoted fans out there that put together websites that chronicle everything about a book series and the characters . congrats on starting the new project, your literary accomplishments are something to be proud of :0