In the writing community, there’s a divide between those who plot the storyline of their books first, and those who “pants” it, or dive right in to writing without a plan. They say that if they plot, they lose interest in the story and that they like to be surprised.
I’m a plotter. It makes me nervous to not know where my story is going and I find that I tend to get writer’s block if I don’t know what happens in the next chapter. This is especially important in writing mysteries because you have to start hiding clues/red herrings early on. Some of them I add in later, but I try to make sure I already have some planned.
My favorite part of writing is coming up with the plot and letting the characters tell me what they want to do. Like in my current book, the next Candle Beach Sweet Romance, the main character Maura told me that she’s a member of the Candle Beach Historical Society and she wants to save a historic hotel in town. Before I started this book, I knew her as Sarah Rigg’s friend, a guidance counselor at the middle school.
So, while I do plot, I try to allow room for the characters to surprise me and to not be too rigid about sticking to the exact plan for the book. I find that their surprises are often the best part.