Plotting Style That Works

Today’s guest blogger is Terri Reed. a multi-award winning novelist who made her dream come true. Look for her newest release, Undercover Marriage, wherever good books are sold. Thanks, Terri, for your information and  encouragement to writers who are still looking for their dream.

Plotting Style That Works

People often ask me about my process in creating my novels. I always laugh a bit because as easy sounding as the question seems, the answer is very complicated. I’m a plotter. I think of the plot as my road map. I start at a point on the map and have to figure out the best way to get to my final destination. But along the way I do make detours, double back, or go the long or the short way to the endpoint. It all depends on the mood of my characters, the way the story is developing and how close or far I am to my word count goal.

However, I don’t always start with plot. I start with whichever one comes to me first: plot or character. Sometimes a character will appear in my mind. I let him or her tell me their story. Sometimes I do this with paper and pen, sometimes just in my head while I’m doing dishes, shopping or taking a hot bath. There are times when a plot idea will come to me from a snippet of the news, or from an overheard conversation while out and about. Or I play the ‘what if’ game.
And if something grabs my attention, I run with it.

I think a writer’s process is something that is in constant flux, at least mine is. No book is created the same way; no book follows the same exact path. Sometimes I build the plot around the character or I’ll build the character around the plot. In suspense novels, the element of danger and intrigue is such a fun part of the plotting and character development. And when I’m writing a continuity book, as I have out this month, there are many different threads of story that must be woven into the novel through the plot and through the characters.

I use multiple forms and charts gleaned from various well-known writing gurus whom I admire. Deb Dixon’s book Goal, Motivation and Conflict is one of the best foundational books on character development. Christopher Vogler’s The Writer’s Journey provides an excellent path to story structure. For overall good story telling my go to is Dwight Swain’s book Techniques of the Selling Writer. With these three books, anyone could learn to find their own process. But the most effective way to discover your own process is to write. And keep writing.

About Undercover Marriage

Undercover MarriageTHE BABY MISSION 

An illegal adoption ring—using kidnapped babies—has to be stopped. To gather the necessary evidence, U.S. marshal Serena Summers goes undercover—as a married woman desperate for a baby. Her “husband” is her own partner, U.S. marshal Josh McCall, whom Serena blames for her brother’s death. How can she act like a loving wife when she has to constantly fight her feelings for a man she isn’t sure she can trust? The closer they get to unraveling the dark web of deceit, though, the more being Josh’s undercover wife means putting her life—and future—in his hands.

Witness Protection: Hiding in plain sight

About Terri:

Award winning, multi-published author Terri Reed discovered the wonderful world of fiction at an early age and declared she would one day write a book. Now she is fulfilling that dream and enjoys writing for Love Inspired. She is an active member of both Romance Writers of America and American Christian Fiction Writers. She resides in the Pacific Northwest with her college-sweetheart husband, two wonderful children, and an array of critters. When not writing, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, gardening and playing tennis.

You can write to Terri at P.O. Box 19555 Portland, OR 97280 or visit her online at or email her at or leave comments on or OR


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  1. Jill June 6, 2014 at 11:23 am #

    Thanks for inviting Terri to share her writing process, Gail. I always love to read how a writer brings their story to life. I also enjoy the craft book recommendations! Thanks, Terri!

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