I had the pleasure of attending Carolyn Greene's "Plotting a Cozy" workshop this weekend. She definitely earned her nickname as the "Plot Doctor."
In writing, there are plotters, pantsers, and a hybrid of the two. Plotters meticulously lay out the entire storyline with high level details for scenes, characters, and dialogues. Pantsers have an idea, and they write. I start out as a plotter. I do a high level outline. I write to the outline, but I do sometimes go where the story takes me. So, I guess I'm a plotter who does step off the path from time to time.
Carolyn offered some great worksheets and tips for outlining, defining characters, and creating the mystery. She color codes each piece and cuts them into strips. She lays them all out and then writes chapter summaries. She has worked out the entire novel before she ever starts writing.
I do keep a Word table of all my settings and characters. I'm working on a series, and I want to make sure that I maintain continuity between each work. If you get a chance to hear Carolyn speak, do so. She has some amazing tips for mystery writers.
On Sunday, I signed Virginia is for Mysteries with Fiona Quinn and Rosemary Shomaker at Barnes and Noble - Chesterfield Towne Center. We enjoyed talking to everyone who came out to see us. We celebrated Mystery month with Rosemary's raven.