Mélanie and I just got back from a lovely few days in New York, including fun visits with my editor and agent. There we are above at the Nancy Yost Literary offices. I’m revising The Paris Affair, I just got copy edits for His Spanish Bride, the novella about Malcolm and Suzanne’s wedding, and I’m starting to plot the next Malcolm and Suzanne book, which is one of my favorite parts of the writing process.

I love talking about writing, so I thought it would be fun to start working some writing craft posts into the blog. I’ve always been the sort of writer who plots in advance. I used to write down plot elements and scene ideas on index cards and then lay them out on my dining room table, shuffle around the order, look for gaps in the plot. It’s a great way to build the story arc, though my cats have a tendency to walk over the cards and wreak havoc on my plot order.

Then, in the midst of writing Imperial Scandal, I discovered the writing software program Scrivener. I love Scrivener for numerous reasons, but one is that it has a corkboard built in. You can lay out scenes on index cards, switch to a writing review to draft a scene, then switch back to the corkboard. Because of this, with The Paris Affair, which is the first book I wrote completely in Scrivener, I found I could write as I was plotting. If knew a scene had to occur later in the narrative, I could jump ahead and write it while I was still working out plot details earlier in the story. I spend a lot of time mulling when I’m working out a plot, and this way I was able to write while I was mulling.

Any questions about plotting? What other parts of the writing process would you like to see posts about? Writers, what’s your plotting process? What tools have you found that help with it?

I’ve just posted a new Fraser Correspondence letter from Mel/Suzette to Simon.