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How I write.

I'm sharing how I write my manuscripts in case it helps any writers out there.

Last week I officially plotted Potions and Panic and began writing the first few chapters. I think it's going to be a fun book and, yes, there's a murder in it. Every time I start a new book, I feel overwhelmed, but I'm much more confident in my writing process than I was when I started. Now that I'm on book 5 of the series (I can hardly believe it!), I actually have a method for my madness. I thought I'd share this with any writers who might be interested.


I shared with Debbie DeLouise about how the idea for The Faerie Apothecary Mysteries came to me. I also shared a little about my plottser personality on her website. I'm a plotter, but I give myself the freedom to change direction, so throughout the process I become a pantser.

Before I plotted a single word, I let the idea whirl around the back of my mind for a few days. Then I jotted down some scenes and ideas and a little about the main characters. I use Scrivener for background information like scenery, characters, etc. I find that my actual writing is better done (for me) in Word.


I created an outline for myself to plot out a series and to keep track while writing. Here's the full form. The idea is that if I write a little chapter by chapter synopsis and shoot for about a chapter a day (3000 words daily) I can get a book done in about 20 days.

Of course, life doesn't go perfectly to plan. What generally ends up happening is that I write 1500 words one day, 4000 the next and so on. It varies. I know I shouldn't, but I do my best writing in the middle of the night when I should probably be sleeping. At the end of it all, I've usually taken a full month to write a book and a half a month to edit.

(Speaking of editing, my entire series has recently been re-edited with 529 Books.)


If this sounds like madness, it is. I have so many ideas in my brain it feels like a rush to get those words on paper. Also there's a lot more to Moss Hill than just what's in the books. In Potions and Panic, for example, the whole town is panicking and there are many things happening to characters all over town. So many things are happening, in fact, that while I write Potions and Panic, I'm also writing short stories about the other characters.

Speaking of which, Mossie (Mis) Adventures is almost done. I think I may post one of the short stories from the book here on the last day of March. Which one would you like me to post to this site?

These are the short stories focusing on specific Mossies:

Buried Treasure Troubles:

Barnaby and Holly get kidnapped. What do the kidnappers want? Why, Barnaby's pot of gold, of course.

Culinary Catastrophes

Maren discovers that the spices in Gooseberry Café have strange side-effects on the customers. Can Chaos help Maren find the perfect ingredients to fix the mess they've created? Or is their partnership just a recipe for trouble?

Reporter's Revenge

When a reporter from the mainland comes to town, Tilly's ace reporter status is put to the test. But is this new competitor in Moss Hill for more than just a story?

Druid's and Disagreements

Jane's relationship with Varick started out with the loss of her magical tutor, Miss Morgan. But Varick's way of teaching her magic is frustrating. So, when a new druid arrives in Moss Hill, Jane is tempted to take up his offer to learn from him. Varick's green-eyes are burning with jealousy, but is this druid pulling the wool over Jane's? Or is the pair of rose-colored glasses gifted by Holly to blame?

Take the poll on twitter and let me know. I'll post the short story on this blog on the last day of the month.

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