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October 25, 2011

Angi Morgan on "Plotting? What's that??


I don’t know if I’ll ever become a plotter. The best stories I write…well, I have no clue what’s going to happen. Sometimes, when I re-read what my fingers type (yes, when I’m in ‘the groove’ I feel like they hit whatever keys they want), I get goose bumps and know it’s right. I wish those goose bumps happened each and every time…but they don’t.
I do develop characters. I attempt to discover their motivation and goals. Mostly because they’re needed in the synopsis. But I’ll grudgingly admit that it helps to have a clear picture of those two things as the story develops. It’s also easier to talk through the stalled parts of the story with other writers.

I always know the beginning scene and within the first three chapters jot down the ending line. Yeah, I may not know how the ending GETS to that line, but I normally keep it. Weird. Wired funky? I admit it, I’m a writer.

The most important thing to do is finish the book. Write. Don’t waver from that goal. Know that finishing a book gives you a leg up on everyone who NEVER finishes. Then write the next one. There are as many ways to plot, plan, not-plan, refuse-to-plan, semi-plan, detail-plan…as there are stories to be written. (And yes, that last line inspired this entire post.)

~ ~ ~ HER BOOKS ~ ~ ~

ISBN: 0373695292  
Undercover DEA agent Erren Rhodes was used to working alone. So the very idea of teaming up with Officer Darby O’Malley to ferret out a killer wasn’t exactly how he thought this critical mission would go. But thanks to information only the beautiful cop possessed, finding whoever was responsible for shooting Erren’s friend made Darby a valuable—and irresistible—partner. Digging into the case, though, revealed a far-reaching conspiracy…and angered all the wrong people. Now, trying to bring a killer to justice while keeping Darby safe was making Erren remember why he was better off on his own. Especially when Darby made him long to hole up together in the safe house and never let her out of his sight.  

ISBN: 0373694997   

Dr. Jane Palmer had every intention of telling FBI agent Steve Woods he was a father. But the rehearsed lines and practiced responses were forgotten the moment her little boy was kidnapped. Now, heart breaking and on the verge of falling apart, Jane needed Steve more than ever…

After every attempt at putting old feelings to rest, Steve Woods never expected Jane back in his life. Especially not for this reason. Racing against a ticking clock, desperate to earn Jane’s trust, Steve still sensed Jane wasn’t telling him everything. Which made him wonder why she’d come to Texas in the first place. And what it had to do with the child he’d do anything to rescue.   

~ ~ ~ ABOUT ANGI ~ ~ ~
An 11th generation Texan, Angi Morgan utilizes her strong heritage to create passionate characters willing to risk everything.  She writes Intrigues where danger and honor collide with love. She combines actual Texas settings with characters who are in realistic and dangerous situations. When the house is quiet, she plots ways to engage her readers with complex story lines, throwing her characters into situations they’ll never overcome...until they find their one and only.

Angi’s debut Hill Country Holdup went on sale the very night it won the RWA Golden Heart® award, is a Romantic Times Best First Series Book 2010 Nominee and a Bookseller’s Best double finalist. RT® had this to say about her second Harlequin Intrigue® .38 Caliber Cover-Up: “Morgan’s opposing forces make for a rock-solid thrill ride.”

You can find her on Facebook  or Tweeting or on her website or simply email . However you’d like to find Angi, she’d love to hear from you.

As I’m here at my house “plotting” another submission…  HOW MUCH PLOTTING DO YOU REALLY DO? How much of the story changes when you plot? Do you have any tips to make plotting easier for a die-hard pantser?

~ ~ ~ THE GIVE-AWAY ~ ~ ~
I’ll give-away a copy of .38 Caliber Cover-Up to one blog commenter. Or if you have a copy of .38 CALIBER, I’ve got several other books just sitting around to give away from different authors. Good Luck and thanks for having me on PLOTTING PRINCESSES.


Vicki Batman, sassy writer said...

Hi, Angi, and thanks for posting today about the PP's favorite topic-Plotting!

Congratulations on your success!!!

chris keniston said...

waving hi!

well - the die hard pantser that I am - when I tried to plot the second half of a book so as not to miss anything - my critique friends suggested next time I just pants my way through the whole thing - apparently my predictable plotted end was less than inspiring - lol.

I'm such a pantser that I don't even know much about my characters until it shows up on the page - I start with a glimmer of an idea - Four friends since college have their lives turned upside down when one is in a car creash.

The characters and their lives unfold as I type- at some point I've typed enough story that I'll have an idea of who's involved in the pivotal turning point scene and sort of what might cause it - lol- it's that sort of minimal information that gets me every time. I'll know it after I type it!!

I think if I knew exactly what was going to happen every step and why- I wouldn't need to write - I have to write the book to find out how it ends!!

Angi Morgan said...

Hi Vicki and thanks again for having me as a guest and the congrats.


Angi Morgan said...

HI Chris !

I've tried to plot. Truly, I have. It just doesn't seem to work well for me. I envy those who can and completely understand your woes about the story being over. Nothing new to discover, right?


Jerrie Alexander said...

I'm with you, Angie. I've tried to plot, but it just doesn't work for me. Every new book I start, I say this time I'm going to plot. Not!

About a hundred years ago, I took a creative writing class and even though a lot has changed in the writing world, one thing the instructor said stuck with me. "Begin with the end in mind." So maybe not before the first few words are typed, but soon after, I know the last few words. How I get there is the fun part.

I put together pictures, my research and character backgrounds and learn as much about them as I can before starting, kind of helps me keep too much backstory out of the book.

I envy those writers who can plot!

Phyllis said...

Hi Angi,

Thanks for posting on Plotting Princesses.

I am a pantzer all the way. The only time I plot is when I need to figure out a scene or something. Ah, I guess I even wing it over that!

I don't have any plot ac ice or tips...that is why I'm here. Lol.


Pamela Stone said...

Hi Angi,

I'm character driven. I know my characters intimately before I ever sit down in front of the laptop. Plotting, like Chris, I often feel like the story becomes stale if I plot too much. I write better fast and let my characters come alive.

However, I admit that having a basic outline (or in my case bullets) to follow keep me from getting lost in the weeds. On my current WIP, my bullets have reached 27 pages.

What you ask? How can that be?

I work out the basic plot points with my CPs and put them into bullets. Then as ideas hit me, I add them into the bullets where I think they might fit so I don't forget. Everything from actual dialogue to paragraphs that come to me. They are fluid and often move around and change. Most get used, but some get dropped in the process.

So I guess I plot my basic bullets/turning points, then pants all the things that go in between.

What can I say? I'm a free spirit.

Lynda Bailey said...

Hi Angi~
Guess I'm the one you envy coz I'm a plotter to the core. Must be my controlling personality coming out. :) Whenver I've tried not plotting, I end up with not just a mushy middle, but a mushy everything.
I envy pantsers!

Liz Lipperman said...

Hey, Angi, welvcoe to PP. first off let me say, you panthers scare the bejessus out of me. Like Lynda, I am a card-carrying plotter. Before I even write one word, I know my characters intimately, down to what perfume they wear. Then I write what I call bullet points for the plot.

I have to say, rarely do I totally follow these, especially when one of my characters acts out of character!! But at lest I now where I'm heading--and that my heroine is wearing an Estee Lauder perfume!!!!!

Loved HCH, BTW. I'm waiting to find time to get to .38 CC.

Barb Han said...

Hi Angi,

I'm a hybrid. A situation or character comes to me first. I let it develop without writing a word for as long as it needs to...sometimes it's a year or more. I plot the backbone of the story...then I let the fingers fly. Great post!

Lena Diaz said...

Hi Angi! I didn't know you were a pantser. The idea of pantsing makes me hyperventilate. I'm a plotter. I star with a basic idea and have to come up with character names and a title that I love before I can plot. Then I outline the entire story, every scene. I only write a few sentences per scene-just enough so I know what the scene is about. Then I write a fast and really bad first draft. By then I know my characters really well and I can now go back and revise. I hate writing first drafts but adore the revision process. Maybe you could try a very high level outline to help you design your story. But then again, your current process is working for you, do why try to change? Looking forward to your next release. Any ideas on the release date? Can you share any info about your next story?

Kathy Ivan said...

I think I kinda envy people who can just sit down and start writing. I never can do that. I'm definitely a hybrid. I start out with a kernel of an idea or a character and start planning out the story from there.

I don't write out bullets or whole synopsis or anything like that, but I definitely need to know where the story is headed, some of the things that need to happen along the way (writing suspense I find I need certain things to happen at certain points or it doesn't make sense) and I need to pretty much know how I want the story to end. NOTE I said how I want it to end--sometimes the characters and events will run in a completely different direction and that's okay, as long as it makes it a better story.

Thanks so much for dropping by the Plotting Princesses today, Angi.

Gwen Hernandez said...

Plotting is tough for me too, Angi. I've tried having it all laid out, but find some of the magic disappears for me. I hated to admit that because I'm such a planner in other areas of my life.

I do find that it helps to have the characters' GMC figured out, as well as the conflict between them. If it's not strong enough I'll get stuck halfway through and have to start over.

Good luck with your next one!

Angi Morgan said...

Hi Jerrie,

Envy... yep.
But I just met with two other writers and we all just brainstormed some great ideas for each other. Just talking about things the characters would and wouldn't do is (I admit) some plotting.

Gave me enough for a synopsis.
Woo Hoo !

Angi Morgan said...

Hey Phyllis !

I so very much want to have the twists and turns in stone before the book happens. But I guarantee you, as soon as I write the details down, the book is done.

It's like seeing the climax and end of an action adventure movie. If you know how it's going to end, then...why watch the middle?


Angi Morgan said...

Oh Pamela,
I'd love to be able to do even that. It would make the synopsis so much easier to write.

In .38 Caliber Cover-Up, I was on page 195 (or there abouts out of 230ish pages) when the villian finally raised their hand. I'd subconsiously set everything (all the clues) in place. Made it convienent.


Angi Morgan said...

Seriously, Linda, you do NOT envy pantsers. It's harder to write a synopsis when there is NO story yet.

My synopses concentrate on the characters with a few vague things that "happen" to them thrown in. Sometimes I just want to write, "Hey, it's a romance. You know their going to get together, the hero's going to save the why do I have to tell you that (again!)."


Angi Morgan said...

And thanks for reading HCH. Hope you like .38 ('ll probably only take you a couple of hours--really fast read).

If you don't follow through on your plot, aren't you really a plotster? Aren't you letting the characters drive the story into unplotted territory? or do you keep them on track?

And even as a pantser...I basically know WHERE the characters have been and where they need to get. It's just an adventure discovering everything in between.


Angi Morgan said...

Hi Barb !

HYBRID!!! Sometimes I call myself an audible plotter. I can come up with a situation and a couple of characters, and then talk about it for an hour (which happened this morning) and have enough ot push the characters into action.

Lovin' all the differences in writers.


Karilyn Bentley said...

Hi Angi,
I'm somewhat of a pantser too. I come up with an idea and how the story ends. Then I have to figure out who the characters are. Then I put the characters into the plot. This usually happens while I write. Half the time I'm not sure how to get from the beginning of the story to the end. Not sure why this is since I'm extremely detailed in organizing the rest of my life. But if I try to plot out the story, it takes away the magic of writing it. Go figure. :)

Shelley Munro said...

Hi Angie,

It's always fascinating to learn other writer's processes.
Your plotting process sounds remarkably smiler to mine. At the start I try to have my main character's motivations and conflicts nailed. I have a starting point, and sometimes a vague idea of how everything ends. The bit in between? No idea, but somehow it all works out.

I've attempted to plot, but knowing everything that happens spoils the story for me, and I get bored.

Angi Morgan said...

Hey Lena and here's a public welcome to the newest Harlequin Intrigue authors!

Next release...well... gotta sell it. My one attempt at thoroughly plotting wasn't successful and turned down by Intrigue. So the one that they like now, I wrote 1/3of in just over a week after "plotting" a total of 6 lines (Don't hyperventilate Lena!)... Dangerous Memories has a U.S. Marshal protecting the daughter of a witness who is remembering a murder she's blocked from her mind for 20 years. It's been very exciting to write and I have no clue where these characters are taking me. Absolutely none.


Angi Morgan said...

A big THANK YOU for having me. Nice to chat with other writers.

Kathy, it sounds like you're more of a pantser than you give yourself credit for. Have you taken Kat's test? (I KAT!!!)

What you're describing is basically how I write...without me putting the notes on paper--they're all mental for me. I jot down dialogue I don't want to forget. Impressions. Choose pictures. And MUSIC. I let the music take me right back to the mood of the story.

PLAYLISTS are big for me.
Try listening to the music of KNIGHT & DAY. Awesome upbeat, driving, action/adventure music.


Angi Morgan said...

Same here, Gwen. GMC is probably the key to pantsers. Good, old-fashioned, complicated conflict.

Nice to hear from you!


Angi Morgan said...

Hey Karilyn !

"The magic of writing it."

LOVE THAT! I think I need to steel it and put the phrase into this post! 'Cause that's exactly what happens. The magic is gone. The excitement of it just stops. It's like knowing the punch line to a good joke. Still a good joke, but what's the fun in just listening again and again (which I have tried to explain to my husband many times LOL).


Angi Morgan said...

Hi Shelley.

Absolutely. Perhaps there needs to be a name for our "type." Not a pantser, not a plotter, and plotser isn't completely accurate either. Hmmm....


Regina Richards said...

Great post, Angie! Like you I don't want to know every detail in advance, just enough to keep me moving forward.

Angi Morgan said...

Hey Regina!
Good luck with the next section of your new WIP !


Sylvia said...

Hi Angie,
Sorry I just now got here, but an exciting "Bond" class kept me busy most of the day. I'm a plotter. I wish I could write like a panster, but I have to know where I'm going. But even then, there is always those moments when a surprise comes along and you just know it fits. I'm so happy that you are doing so well. You worked very hard for this success and it's well deserved.

Liz Lipperman said...

Angi, you nailed me. I am a plotster!!

Angi Morgan said...

Hiya Sylvia!

Seriously, plans are better and surprises are super duper!!

(and thanks !)

Angi Morgan said...


Angi Morgan said...

Thanks for having me as a guest on PLOTTING PRINCESSES. Great fun connecting with everyone.


Joanna Terrero said...

Hi, ladies, and thanks for sharing your writing processes. My name is Joanna Terrero and I’m a pantser. Now, I feel better. I’d tried to be a discipline plotter, but it freezes me. So I submitted to my pantser’s productive habits and I’m doing great.

Angi Morgan said...

Hi Joanna!

Thanks for the tweets yesterday (yes...saying it again LOL). I'm going to have to start a club: Pantsers Unite!

Hope everyone does well during NaNo.


Kelly L Lee said...

So glad to hear I'm not the only one...I was beginning to think I was doing something really wrong by not plotting out the details in advance. I learn about my characters as I go along - and they frequently surprise me.