Friday, December 4, 2020

Friday - J. S. Marlo is visiting and talking about Panster or Plotter #BWLAuthor #MFRWAuthor #Panster #Plotter


Panster or Plotter


Day 1


1.      Are you a panster or a plotter or perhaps a bit of both?


I’m about 80% panster and 20% plotter. Before I begin a new novel, I have an idea of the main storyline...where it should start, the detours it should make, and how it should end. That’s usually enough information to start writing, but there’s always lots of rewrite in the first few chapters as I try to set the characters and the story.


Once the first three or four chapters are in line, the main storyline kicks me out of the driver’s seat and takes over. I become a passenger who writes what she’s told to write. The storyline often takes different detours than the ones that I’d imagined, and during those detours, subplots emerge. Based on how long I want my novel to be, I will embrace some of these subplots while discarding others.


Do I sometimes hit a wall? Yes, and I’ve often backtracked and deleted entire chapters, but I’ve also plowed ahead after spotting a tiny crack in the wall then stumbled on a great subplot.


The most important thing for me is to never lose sight of where I want to end up. As long as I’m heading in the right direction, I let the storyline take me for a ride.


2.      Which comes first - characters or plot for you?


At first, I was going to say the plot, but then I looked at the eleven novels I’ve published so far, and in ten of them, the characters came first LOL My latest novel, released last month, is the only one in which the plot came first. So, I guess the answer is: the characters.


3.      What are you working on now? Is this a book in a current series or something totally new?


I’m currently working on a romantic suspense time travel series “Unraveling the Past”. Each novel in the series is a stand-alone with different characters and different storylines, but time travel is experienced in all novels.


The first novel “Misguided Honor” came out in September 2019 and the second novel “Mishandled Conviction” was released last month (November 2020).



“Misplaced Loyalty” will be the third and last novel of the series. The main storyline and the characters are still blurry in my mind, so it may be a month or two before I start writing again, but I’m hoping for a late 2021 or early 2022 release.


4.      Do you have some kind of object or place that figures in most of your books? I use gems a lot, hospitals and caves.


I’m Canadian, so I like to set my novels in Canada or have Canadian characters if the story takes place elsewhere. I also like to add a few French words here and there, just because my first language is French. You can also expect a dead body, or two, hidden somewhere in the story since I write romantic mystery suspense novels.


5.      Do you write every day or just when the spirit hits?


Before Covid-19 hit, I would have said, I write almost every day. Since last March, I write when I’m not babysitting my granddaughter, which means I may write three days in a row then not touch my computer for a week. I take it one day at a time.


6.      Where can we find you?


You can find me in front of my fireplace in Northern Alberta or online at









7.      Who are your favorite authors? What about a book you’ve enjoyed?


I don’t have “a” favourite author, I have too many to list. I also like many different genres, though I think I did read all Ken Follett’s, Barbara Cartland’s, and Danielle Steel’s novels.


I just finished two awesome books:


-          A Canadian Historical Brides novel by Victoria Chatham: the Alberta novel “Brides of Banff Spring”.

-          A murder mystery by Maureen Jennings: “Let Darkness Bury the Dead”.


I’m currently reading a thriller mystery by Dan Brown: Origin.


Thanks for having me today! Take Care & Stay Safe! Hugs!

J.S. Marlo


No comments: