Thursday, June 16, 2016

My Method for Writing a Story by Margaret Daley

My Method for Writing a Story
By Margaret Daley

I was deep into writing Deadly Noel, the fifth book in my Strong Women, Extraordinary Situations Series, when I realized I had another story placed in Pinecrest. Out of a series of murders committed by a serial killer, one of them couldn’t be the villain in Deadly Noel. I had never planned to write another one in the same town, but these characters—Jessie, Gabriel, Josh, Abbey and Kira still had a story to tell.

Mary Lou, Jessie’s best friend, demanded there was more to her murder than another victim of the serial killer. And Jessie couldn’t let it go. Her best friend’s last communication with Jessie haunted her until all she could do was try to find who had murdered Mary Lou and why.

I start a book with a good sense of my main characters. I have a loose framework of the story, but I write mostly by the “seat of my pants.” Although there are times the story comes to a stall (and I feel like pulling my hair out with frustration), it still amazes me how things come together in the end.  I’ll go to bed, not sure what to do in the next scene, and wake up in the morning with a solution. I’m not sure where the ideas come from, but that is my process for writing all the way through a book. I’ve written short to books at a hundred thousand words using this method.

I hate outlining in detail because it stifles my creativity. I love being surprised by my characters. Those surprises keep me engaged in the story and enthusiastic. When I write an outline for my story for my publisher, I’ve often found myself not following it because the characters are telling me something different. I’ve learned to listen to them. I love the feeling when it all comes together and I finish the story.
My newest book:
Deadly Dose’s blurb:
Drugs. Murder. Redemption.
From USA Today Bestselling author, Margaret Daley, is another romantic suspense from her series Strong Women, Extraordinary Situations.

When Jessie Michaels discovers a letter written to her by her deceased best friend, she is determined to find who murdered Mary Lou, at first thought to be a victim of a serial killer by the police. Jessie’s questions lead to an attempt on her life. The last man she wanted to come to her aid was Josh Morgan, who had been instrumental in her brother going to prison. Together they uncover a drug ring that puts them both in danger. Will Jessie and Josh find the killer? Love? Or will one of them fall victim to a DEADLY DOSE?


  1. Margaret, your process is similar to mine. I mostly write that way because I have a hard time figuring out what will happen until I start writing. Doing a synopsis to sell a book kills me because I can sit for days trying to figure out what will happen to my characters and what they will do about it. When I start writing, it's like doors open up in my mind.

  2. Great post, Margaret. I kind of write by loosely outlining and then flying seat of the pants. Or getting an idea via seat of the pants, loosely outlining it, then off I go. But nothing's written in stone. However, if I don't do some outlining I wander down rabbit trails and get lost in a forest. Lots of stuff can happen there, but most of it probably can't go in my book. I have a tendency to write storms and natural disasters into my stories and I have to watch my plots don't get taken over by them. :) Everyonw has a different way of writing. I like hearing how others write, especially authors I really like, and you are one of them. :)

  3. I agree with all of you--Merrille, Diana, and Margaret. I begin with a loose outline, and then my characters guide me--often in an opposite direction.