Friday, October 29, 2010

A Day in the Life of Missy Tippens

Missy Tippens, here. Welcome to my writing life! First off, I want to share some exciting news. This week, I made another sale to Love Inspired!! The book will be out in early 2012. :) To celebrate, today I’ll be giving away a book of the winner’s choice in a drawing—either one of my last two books or your choice of a Love Inspired book from e-harlequin. And don’t forget to comment to be entered in the Kindle giveaway! (See all contest rules on sidebar)

Okay, now on to a typical writing day in the Tippens household…

Missy's Coffee Corner and favorite mug
Once I feed my four-legged babies, I start the coffee: extra-bold with lots of Italian Sweet Cream and Splenda. Then I drink coffee and watch a little Good Morning America while making sure my two-legged kids are managing to get ready for school at a decent pace. Once they head out, I turn off the TV and settle in to write.

Well… so maybe I don’t quite get started yet. I usually have to check email so I won’t fret about whether or not there’s something important in my inbox. :) Then I get to work and go until lunchtime. I start back up again until late afternoon when I panic and realize I need to pick up my son in ten minutes and still haven’t had a shower! (By the way, he’s assured me he’d rather me show up with my grungy clothes and greasy, bed-head hair than to shower and be late. But I just can’t bring myself to do it. ) And no! No photos of me in this state. I'm only sharing a posed shot (although is's after a long day at the regional cross country tournament).
Missy posing in her typical working spot.

After picking up both kids, I usually continue to work while they do their homework. (Of course, if it’s cross country or tennis season, this all changes.) I quit around 5 or 6 when they start asking what we’re having for dinner—and I realize I don’t have anything thawed out. Frozen pizzas and spaghetti are staples around here! After dinner I often spend more time visiting blogs and answering email.

So now that you’ve seen a typical day, I’ll share a little of how I write a book. Of course, it’s varied from book to book as I try new methods and work to improve my weaknesses. When I start a proposal (3 chapters and a synopsis), I try to first come up with a one-liner. Something that would be a good elevator pitch for an editor. And I expand that into a blurb. Sounding a little like Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake method?? :) Yep. I bought his software and work with it.

Missy's favorite how-to books/DVD's
Then I start character work. I’m not a spreadsheet person like Pam, but I’m the Queen of Charts. :) I use the Magic Conflict Chart from Carolyn Greene’s Prescription for Plotting notebook (combined with Deb Dixon’s GMC chart). I use some of the worksheets from Break Into Fiction (Love and Buckham). I do some of the work in Alicia Rasley’s The Story Within Guidebook. Then once I have a pretty good idea of who my characters are, I do some more worksheets in Prescription for Plotting. At some point, I also look at what the moral premise will be (using a worksheet I made after reading Stanley Williams’s The Moral Premise.)

This is about the time I’m dying to start writing. So I go ahead and dive in to write the 3 chapters. Once they’re done, I work using the Paradigm worksheet from the Greene notebook to come up with the major plot points. It’s a huge help in writing the synopsis. Of course, the synopsis is usually an agonizing two- or three-day project. I’m always so relieved when it’s finished!

Oops! How did that get in here? Favorite how-to, uh, snack?
Next, I print it all out and read through a few times, making changes on paper. Of course, then my critique partners have to read the work! And I make changes again.

Once a proposal sells, and I’ve made any changes to the proposal that have been requested, I jump in to write the book. I usually write about 2000 words a day, then the next morning, I re-read what I wrote the day before to get back into the story.

That all sounds pretty smooth and easy. But it’s not. I usually hit a wall at chapter 5. And then about halfway through, I panic, thinking I’ll never have enough scenes to fill the page count. (I think someone else said this same thing this week!) So at that point, I print and read what I have because I sometimes can’t remember!

Along the way, I print up a blank calendar (you can print one for any month/year in Works) and fill in what happens each day in the story to keep track. I also use a program called Writers Blocks to keep track of what happens in each scene. Of course, I just bought a Mac, so I can’t use it anymore. Will have to find something else visual—which really helps me.

My next project is to create a personal editing checklist to make sure I find all my typical problems and fix them before I turn the book in. (I’m sure my agent and editor will thank me!) :)

So, you plotters out there, do you do any of this? And if I haven’t scared off all you non-plotters, I’d love to hear a little about your writing methods!

Missy Tippens’ next Love Inspired, A Family for Faith, will be out in April 2011.


  1. Coffee pot doesn't look anything like your, but it's on!!

    There are similarities and differences in my methods. But if there's one thing I've learned, it's that I have to stick with what works for me.

    Gotta get more of these how-to writing books you guys keep touting.


  2. Silly me, I usually come up with a title first. It's really a theme, and then I have to break it down into some kind of structure and figure out who the characters are and what's going to happen along the way. I guess I'm kind of backwards, but it works for me! Glad to hear I'm not the only one to hit a wall after writing several chapters. Writing the synopsis really helps. I'm also a chart person like you.
    Congrats on your new contract!

  3. Helen, thanks for the late night coffee boost! :)

    And YES! Everyone should use what works best for them. I meant to say that! :)

  4. Thanks, Carla!

    Starting with a theme is a good idea! We all work differently. Some forwards, some backwards. :)

  5. Missy~ Congrats on your latest sell. I love Love Inspired! I really should subscribe, but I haven't yet. I've been trying to cut down on my fiction reading, but discovering this site has not helped with my resolve. You see, I've never read a Seeker book before, and now I want to read them all--on top of all my regular must read faves. Oh the dilema.

    I'd love to win either of your books. I'd also love to win the Kindle.

    All of you ladies are so inspiring that I feel certain God led me to you. I've only just begun working on my first story, but I started with a printout of the basics of the Snowflake that you mentioned. I'm really loving it so far (but I'm only on step 3, so we'll see).

    Thanks for the look at your day. I'm finding that the description of how you ladies schedule your writing times into your day is as helpful to me as tips on actual writing. I have a three year old, and I'm a stay at home mom. If I'm not careful, I'll let my daughter sit in front of the tube all day while I write and catch up on reading.

    Thanks, Helen, for the coffee. I'm contributing popcorn, one of my fave late night snacks.

    andeemarie95 at gmail dot com

  6. Missy, first congratulations on another sale!!

    I really like the idea of reading over what was written the day before. I'll have to give this a try and see if it works much better.

    reneelynnscott [at] gmail [dot] com

  7. Thanks for sharing Missy. I have loved your books and look forward albeit along wait for your next one.
    am in the city so limited time to check here and post.

  8. Yippee, more Missy books to look forward to reading! Congrats.

    I find it interesting that "the wall" panic keeps coming up even with your seasoned experience. Do you have to do anything besides reread and pray to get out of it?

    Lastly, I am providing pink and blue M&Ms this morning to celebrate a new grandbaby coming (they work for new book contracts too)...we don't know what it is going to be, except that it will be loved, of course!

    Peace, Julie

  9. Opps, should have said "coming this MORNING!" Off to the hospital!

    Peace, Julie

  10. Thanks for the writing details, Missy! I especially share your enthusiasm for finding a favorite how-to snack! I'm just becoming familiar with some Seeker books and yours inspired some sweet reviews on Amazon. Congrats on another sale!

    reneeasmith61 [at] yahoo [dot] com

  11. Oh my stars, a Keurig.

    The boon for all coffee-addicted writers everywhere. I will kiss Mr. Keurig whenst I shall meeteth him.

    And HEATH bars!!!!

    Oh yay, oh yay, oh yay!!!!

    Oh, I love Heath bars.

    Wait. You mean I was supposed to notice something other than the food?

    My bad.

    I GLOSSED over the pic of books, how to books, writer's books....

    Oh my stars, I got a little sick in my mouth but I scrolled down quickly and was okay after a minute.


    Missy, cross-country and tennis. Two Herne sports. Awesome, Dudette!!!!

  12. HELEN:

    Don't do it!!!


  13. Julie is sending out M&M's.

    I love you.

  14. And yes, I hit walls too, which usually means I didn't go back and re-read what I'd done the past couple of days.


    Hurrying is never a good thing. Steadiness is a very good thing. End of Ruthy-lecture #4103 "A".

  15. Missy, I had to laugh at this: "I print and read what I have because I sometimes can’t remember!"

    I thought I was the only one that happened to. I get so "in the zone" when writing, that by the time I'm out in the middle of the story I have to remind myself where I've been already!

    And CONGRATS on another LI sale!!

  16. Thank you for sharing, Missy!

    I never thought reading Seekerville would be expensive! But since I started I've ordered GMC, James Scott Bell's book, a book by one of the Seekers, bought one of those notepads for brainstorming in [AH! I forget who it was! The blank newsprinty ones], and have a list of more to get!

    Of course, I've also read a couple of great books [thank you library!] and am looking forward to a bunch more!

    Thanks again, Seekerville!

    carol at carolmoncado dot com

  17. Good morning Missy, Congrats on the sale. I'm so glad there will be another Missy Tippens book out there. Can't wait for the next one.

    Your style is similar to mine. I have to have that outline and it really helps to pick up the next day.

    Another thing I do is quit for the day in the middle of a scene. That way I get right into it again.

    Helen, thanks for the coffee. I don't have a Keurig so rely on the ole pot. yum.

    Julie, blessings for the new grandchild. How precious. Be sure and let us know if it was a girl or boy.

  18. Missy!

    Congratulations on the new contract! Can you tell us the one line pitch?

    I'm glad to learn that I'm not the only one who loses their time line while writing.

    Thanks for sharing with us today.

  19. Congratulations on the new contract, Missy!

    Thanks for sharing your writing process.


  20. Loves 2 Read Romance - LauraOctober 29, 2010 at 8:13 AM

    Thank you for sharing Missy! Congrats on the new book sale!!! I can't wait to find out more about it!

    fantum2004 AT sbcglobal DOT net

  21. This is interesting. Congrats on your 2012 release!! I love hearing about people's favorite how-to books and its nice to hear the routines of other writing moms.

  22. Missy,
    So happy about your next contract! YAAAAY!

    A new grandbaby, Julie! I've been helping my daughter since her little guy was born on Oct 18. He's in my arms now, and I'm trying to type with one hand. So precious!

    Missy, your charts amaze me. Love the pics. I was a cross country, track, basketball, cheerleading and band mom. I wrote in the afternoons before school was out, but never sold until they were through school, which was probably a good thing. :)

  23. Good morning! Missy, we could be twins on our leather couches and with our Macs. But I'm afraid I'm the older twin by several years.

    The interesting thing is we all write so differently. I'd like to be a writing machine and write 6-8 hours every day, but I'm not built that way and neither is my life.

    Congratulations on your sale! I love to start a new book especially after the first chapter.

  24. Happy Friday, everyone!

    I enjoyed the look into your writing day, Missy. I definitely have to work my real world job and writing around kid schedules too.

    Congrats on your latest sale, too! That's a great way to wrap up the birthday celebration. :-)

    We're going camping this weekend. S'mores, campfires, crackling leaves, good friends -- fall is definitely here. But I'll miss the final birthday posts and prizes. :-( Of course, I wouldn't mind getting home on Monday and learning that I won a Kindle. LOL

    I'll add pumpkin spice muffins to the breakfast choices. My mom has a new recipe and they're yummy!

    leighdelozier at bellsouth dot net

  25. Wow, you do have a busy day! And congrats on the sale of your book. Looking forward to reading it.

    And yes, I do want to be entered for the drawing for the Kindle. I have really wanted one. That would make a great birthday present for myself!

    Thanks for sharing your writing experience with us and for giving away a copy of your book.


  26. Missy, I thoroughly enjoyed "His Forever Love!" Thank you!

    Your day sounds very much like mine, only I do pick up my boys in my grungy clothes and brushed through bed-head. :D

    Our writing styles are very different, but I'm not published yet, either. I love the way you approach your writing. I hadn't thought about how I would write a proposal before writing the entire book, so reading what you do is very helpful. I do have book two already in the works - at least in my head. I'll write it regardless, but at least I can send a proposal early once book one is published.

    Thanks for sharing today!
    My email is
    lr. mullin at live. com.
    I'd love to win a book!

    Have a blessed day!


  27. good morning everyone!

  28. Chocolate and coffee - the celebratory tools of choice!

    Love it!

    Congrats Missy, on yet another sale! And Julie on the new wee one!

    Missy, I've been thinking about getting Randy's software. You like it eh? I'm thinking it will really help me with subsequent works.

    This is another printer-offer for certain.

    You're cracking me up with 2 and 4 footers. Definitely terms we use. :)

    I very much enjoyed reading your work. If it's not greedy, enter me for another. May at maythek9spy dot com

    When the celebration week is over, I'd love to know blog info - such as how many new followers and posters y'all attracted. Seekerville is a great blessing to so many. It's wonderful to "see" new faces and watch the Friends of Seekers group grow!

    Great weekend all!

  29. Andrea, we're so glad you found us!

    Yes, it's much more difficult with little ones at home. I felt like I didn't get much done until mine all hit kindergarten. But I wouldn't have traded that time for anything! They grow up way too quickly.

    Thanks so much for joining us today.

  30. Thanks, Renee!

    Yes, give reading through a try. You get immersed in the story. Get back into the story world.

    Glad you stopped by this morning!

  31. Jenny, it's so good to see you! I hope you're doing well.

  32. Hey Missy,

    Thanks for sharing your plot method. I have a couple of the books you use and have just ordered the other ones.

    I have a Mac and bought the Office pkg. I use Excel to keep track of scenes and what's happening. I go down the first column and list my scenes. 1A, 1B, 1C, 2A, etc Then I have columns for Date, Location, What happens. After I type in that info, I color-code the text, depending on whose pov it is. So, if this was the hero's scene, it usually is blue. Heroine is red. Each other pov character in the story has a different color. As I'm writing, I can check my chart and see whose pov I haven't been in for a while. It's a simple, visual way of keeping track and not forgetting what you've written so far.

    fictionfan1 [@] cox [dot] net

  33. Julie, thanks AND congrats on the new grandbaby coming!! That's so exciting! I look so forward to having some of my own someday. :)

    You know, I've heard several others who hit a wall at chapter 5. I think it's because we plan and work so hard to get those 3 chapters done. And we leave on a big hook at the end of ch. 3 so 4 comes pretty easily. Then it's like, oh my gosh, I really have to write this whole book!! :)

    One thing that can help is to plan a few scenes ahead. Go ahead and work out what's going to happen for a chapter or so ahead. The Writers Blocks program has helped me some with this. There's something about planning on paper or in computer blocks that helps me. Whereas looking at manuscript pages is harder to think about what's going to happen a chapter ahead.

    I think another thing that can help is to plan out all your major turning points, so that as your write, you're always heading toward the next one. It's like breaking it down into manageable chunks. :)

  34. Oh my gosh, Julie!! We'll be praying all goes well!! Let us know if it's pink or blue! :)

  35. Renee Ann, thank you! I think sweet reviews are even better than a Heath bar. :) (I know, that's hard to believe, isn't it?)


    We really appreciate you reading our books!

  36. So sorry to make you ill this morning, Ruthy. Knowing you would blanch at the talk of how-to books, I added the off-topic photos just for you. ;)

    Yes, running and tennis make me very happy. No major contact sports to give me gray hair.

  37. Good point, Ruthy. Hurrying is never good. I get on a roll sometimes, so into the story that I just bloop it out as fast as my fingers can fly. And that's usually just dialogue. (my talking heads draft)

    But I need to be slowing down, going into the zone where I can see what's unfolding in my head so I don't forget important things like setting.

  38. Thanks, Glynna! I'm glad to hear you do it, too. Sometimes it leads to nice little surprises, doesn't it?

    You know, maybe we shouldn't admit we entertain ourselves while writing! LOL

  39. Enjoyed hearing about how you write. I've been commenting much lately, but I've enjoyed all the recent posts. Especially learning how everyone writes.

    Chapter 5 (or 4) is also difficult for me. It's like the first few chapters are fun and I knew exactly how I'd write them. But then the work begins.

    bcountryqueen6 at msn dot com

  40. Gosh, Carol, we should have thought to buy stock in all these companies beforehand! :)

    Of course, the more you hang out here, the more chances you'll have to win books. That'll help, so keep coming back!

    BTW, I think it was Glynna who uses the newsprint. :)

  41. Hey, Missy! How Fun to get this glimpse of your life. :-)

    I don't plot. Not really. Just in my head, mostly. But like you, it varies somewhat with each book. When I start getting multiple contracts on different series, I suspect I will have to change my ways and start doing some serious plotting. I might even have to come back to this post and dig up those charts you listed!

  42. Oh, and I forgot to say CONGRATS on your new sale!!! Yay!!! So happy for you, Missy!

  43. Good morning, Sandra! You know, I've heard other people advise stopping in the middle of a scene. But I just can't do it unless I have to because I have to leave (like when I'm late picking up my son!). I always want to keep going while I'm in the middle of a conversation or action. Of course, maybe it would mean it really would work if I kept that scene in my head.

    Of course, more likely, I'd just forget where I was heading. :)

  44. We've got a Keurig machine too. Love it! Although I'm more of a tea girl than coffee (can't stand that stuff). My favorite is Gloria Jean's Pomegranate Berry Fusion.

    Julie, congrats on the new grandbaby! How fun!


  45. Rose, thank you! I'd be happy to share.

    A widowed mom of four who's put her life on hold until her kids are grown finds hope of love in the unlikeliest of places when the former bad boy who ruined her sister returns to town seeking redemption.

  46. Another Missy book.

    This is a wonderful thing. I love Missy-books.

    Just love 'em to pieces. Sigh....

    Julie, dibs on hugging the grandkid. (don't you love how perfect strangers manhandle your babies???? Soooooo kinda creepy. Unless, of course, it's me.)

    Grabbing a pumpkin spice muffin, very excited about that, and dropping off Heath-bar chocolate Jumbles.


  47. Missy, great photos. You look great after a long day at a cross country meet! Love the elegant Missy too!

    Wonderful to hear about your day and the preparation you do before you write your story. Do you write on the weekends?

    I used to write in my pjs but now I clean up before I begin. I couldn't stand myself. LOL


  48. Kirsten and Loves2Read, thanks for celebrating with me! :)

  49. Congrats to Julie on the birth of her grandbaby!! Blue M&Ms must mean boy. Keep us posted.

    Congrats to Missy on the birth of a new book!!! Where's the pink M&Ms????


  50. Julia M., it is hard to write with little ones at home. Early on, I did most of my writing late at night after hubby and kids went to bed. I would write till 2 or 3 am. But once all three were in elementary school, I tried to start doing most of my writing during the day. Now I can hardly write that late unless I'm right at a deadline.

    Thanks for stopping by! :)

  51. Oh, how sweet, Debby!! I wish I could see the little guy. You'll have to share photos. :)

  52. Missy: Congratulations on the sale! I could really identify when you said:
    I quit around 5 or 6 when they start asking what we’re having for dinner—and I realize I don’t have anything thawed out.
    OMGoodness, there it is,the picture of my life, LOL! That and the sports, the four-legged and two-legged critters, too!

    Hey, isn't Scrivener the great program for novel writing that all the Mac users rave about?

    Loved the pics!
    @Debby Guisti: Must have pics of that adorable grandbaby. Where are they, LOL?


    AND, WHOA, you sure get a lot done in a day, girlfriend, which tells me you are WAY more disciplined than me. :(

    But I have to admit that my stomach rolled when I saw the Heath Bar -- I HATE those things, but they are Keith's favorite, so I must be odd (big surprise!!).


  54. Cara, yes, it's hard to write for 6 or 8 hours. For one thing, I get so stiff I can hardly walk when I get up! So I try to make myself stop regularly and take breaks.

    Of course, being brain-tired is another problem! Sometimes my brain just gets tired and I have to stop. A good night's rest is the cure for that. :)

  55. Leigh, I hope you have a great time!! Sounds so fun. You can catch up with us when you get back.

    Thanks for the pumpkin muffins! Yum. I had pumpkin bread at Starbucks the other night and it was sooo yummy. I need to do some baking...

  56. Patsy, thanks for coming by! Is your birthday coming up soon??

  57. Congratulations on your sale, Missy! It sounds like a great story!

    I love the way you work - it sounds so simple and logical. I'm going to check out a few of those books/sites you included. I've just ordered two new help books (one was The Moral Premise), so I'm over on my book budget this month!

    I'm so glad to hear others have that panic mode around the middle of the book, where you can't figure out how you're going to stretch the story into a full book! "But my black moment is already here & it's too soon! Oh no!" LOL.

    I've read both your latest two books, so don't enter me in that contest. I'm still hoping for the Kindle though (aren't we all?)

    So many new grandbabies arriving! Congrats to all the grandmas.

    Have a wonderful weekend!

    Sue (off to get some coffee!)
    sbmason at sympatico dot ca

  58. Thank you, Linnette! I'm so glad you enjoyed the book.

    You know, I have gone to the school with the grungy bed-head look, but it never fails that my son wants to drive, so I have to get out and walk around the car in front of EVERYONE! So embarrassing. LOL

    As for writing proposals... It's good to learn to do them. Once you sell a completed book or two, publishers will usually let you sell based on the 3 chaps and synopsis. :) Very nice.

  59. Thanks, Missy, for sharing your process. I am fascinated by reading these how-I-write stories. The common thread is: this is hard work!

  60. Congrats on that new book Missy! That is fantastic! Thanks for sharing a peek into your writing life. I love the pictures everyone has been sharing this week. :)

  61. Leigh~

    I hope you have a great time camping. You wouldn't want to share the new muffin recipe would you? Sounds yummy.


    The color coding is a great idea. I'll definitely try that.

  62. Rebecca and Susanna, thanks for dropping by!

  63. KC, I bought Randy's software when he first released it and ran a great sale. I like working on the method on the computer since I type faster than I write. :)

    You're not ever greedy! We love having you hang with us every day. :)

    Speaking of our two-legged children. One of my dogs had cancer surgery on Tuesday, so I have to take him out on a leash. He can't run until he gets the staples out of his leg. And he so loves to run! So I just got back in after walking him around the yard, and guess what I brought in? Yep. Must've stepped in a "gift." Ugh.

  64. Vickie, I do have Office for Mac. Thanks for the suggestion! I'll have to try the color coding in Excel. That's one of the things I liked about Writers Blocks--I colored coded the boxes.

    I also need to play with the trial I downloaded of Scrivener. I've heard great things about it.

  65. Connie, we love daily commenters! (and we love those of you who lurk as well.) :)

    You said it well about the chapter 4/5 syndrome. The work begins! And yes, it is hard work. But so worth it!!

  66. I am actually badly shaken by Missy's post.

    FYI, Missy is a genius. I am of the opinion that she conceals this very well....(joke)....but it's true.

    We all need to fear her because while she's mixing up her Italian creamer laced coffee, or whatever that was...she's really plotting to take over the world.

    And she'll probably do it one of these days, so quietly and with that sweet Southern drawl, that when she is named supreme dictator for life we'll all be saying thank you.

    You understand this is just a personal theory.

    But not that I've seen the order of her writing method, I think I'm on the right track.

    I know, right this second, Missy is thinking, "MARY IS ON TO ME!!!"




    [Myra runs screaming from the room.]

    Can you tell I HATE PLOTTING????

    Honestly, I can't "see" what my characters are going to do next until I'm actually living the scene as I write it. "Vaguely general" is about as good as it gets for me in the planning stages.

    Seriously, Missy, fun glimpse into your writing life! But I don't know how you gals who write in your recliners or on your sofas manage it. I just have to have all my dictionaries, thesauri, notes, inspiring quotes on the wall, character photos, etc., right beside me.

    Must go "play" today. Hubby's old college friends are in town for the Arabian Horse Show. Lunch, watch a few classes, tour the barn . . .

    I'm gonna come home missing horses like crazy again, I just know it. That's why I write about them.

  68. Melanie, I can't keep things in my head well enough. Have to write it down somewhere. I wonder if the difference is our hair color??!! LOL

    By the time I get to a second book in a series, I have to write down details like names, hair color, eye color. Actually, I write it down as I go now so I don't have to go back and do it later. I'll write down all secondary characters even if they only appear once or twice. And I'll describe details like: older nosey woman with dyed blonde hair, lives two doors down the street; man with expensive clothes and sandy brown hair... Stuff I'm sure to forget in about 5 minutes! :)

  69. Holly, that tea sounds sooo good!! I'll have to order a sample.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  70. Myra, Snowflake users are INHERENTLY evil.

    True it ends up being that way a little too often. But it doesn't have to end tragically.

  71. Good morning, Janet! I should probably admit that some days I can't stand myself either. LOL I'll be in the middle of working and think that I can't stand my hair for one more minute so run to take a shower. :) Also, I have days where I'm up and out the door for Bible study or a grocery store trip. I make sure to clean up before leaving the house--which I'm sure my Bible study ladies are grateful for. :)

    As for weekends... I often do work on Saturday if we're not doing anything. I usually try to do it while the kids are sleeping in. Of course, with cross country, meets are sometimes on Saturdays, so I can't.

    I also take most Sundays off. Sometimes at night, though, I'll work on blog posts. With my laptop right here in the family room, I can easily get on the computer while we're all just sitting around watching TV.

  72. Another MAC girl. We just bought a Keurig and love it.

    The coffee is always fresh.

    Congratulations on your sale!!!!!

  73. Debbie, I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks of dinner right at dinnertime! :)

    I've actually downloaded the Scrivener software trial. I just haven't taken the time to play with it yet. I've just finished my final edits for A Family for Faith, so now that I can jump in on the new story, I'll probably give it a try.

    Another program I LOVE is One Note (in Office). But it's not in Office for Mac. So disappointing!! But I've discovered there's a Notebook view within Word that has some of the same functions. But it doesn't do the auto-import of links for my research material like One Note. Bummer.

  74. Julie L. how could you not like Heath bars??!! They're nothing but sugar and butter and chocolate. :) All the best ingredients!

  75. Sue, yes, it's bad to get ready to write the black moment and realize you still need 2000 more words! LOL

    Enjoy your coffee break! I'm having some now as well.

  76. Ann, it's been fun for me to read the different methods as well. Some of us are very similar!

  77. Congratulations, Missy! I imagine your day looks a lot like mine would if I were a full-time writer (minus the four-legged kids). And if it's any comfort, my two-legged ones would prefer to be picked up on time versus me showering too (except for the teenager who would wait in the dark if it meant I didn't embarrass him).

    LOL, Carol! One could start a library based on the craft book recommendations and of course the Seeker releases. I'd suggest a lending library of sorts, but I find that most writers prefer to keep their craft books, complete with highlighted passages and margin notes, handy.

    Missy, I'm always up for reading one of your books, and I think I missed the last one so count me in.

  78. Thanks, Casey!

    Andrea, the muffins sound yummy, don't they. :)

  79. [OMGosh, MARY IS ON TO ME!!!]

    [I must just smile and act innocent.]

    Mary, thanks for stopping by this morning! :) (that was a sweet, innocent smile)

  80. Missy, I'm JUST learning what kind of writer I am (LOL I think!). I've discovered I'm less of a pantser than I thought I was. I'm in the midst of my first novel - second novel-length manuscript. I'm trying starting (sort of) with a brief outline, and perhaps fleshing it out. Will see how it goes.

    And I have a confession to make - I have Kindle envy! I got one for my hubby, and he LOVES it. Now I want my own. And, of course, I would LOVE one of your books!

  81. LOL, Myra. Sorry to send you running. I just KNEW I would do that to someone! :)

    I actually have a lot of that stuff around me, scattered on the cushions of the couch. For some reason, my family doesn't really appreciate it. ;)

  82. I can't miss a day to wish Seekerville a Happy Birthday!
    I so enjoy reading all of the unique styles of each writer!
    Blessings to you all:)

  83. Mary, you keep picking at me, and I may have to end YOU tragically!

    Of course that was said with a southern drawl and a smile, bless your heart.


  84. Question for all you seekers who are multi-published. Do you all write synopsis and first three chapters to send off before writing full manuscript? Do any of you write the full manuscript first, or is that only done with unpubs?

    Jodie Wolfe

  85. Hey, Tina! So you're enjoying that new coffee maker? What K-cup is your favorite so far?

  86. Now I have awakened the wrath of TIPPENS.

    (running after Myra-we can hide together)

    And now students, for Today's Quiz

    Q. Why will SOTP writer's never take over the world?

    A. They can't plot.

  87. Patricia, it's so easy to embarrass our kids. I've found that with my boys, all I've had to do was live and breathe. My daughter is a little harder to embarrass, thank goodness. :)

  88. MY FRIENDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    It seems as if it has been sooooooooooooo long, seriously! It's been like a week *grin* Busy, but mostly a crappy week physically/medically. Sorry I haven't been around, I've missed you though : )

    Missy loved hearing about your working day! I keep saying this but it's true: I've LOVED hearing this from everyone! It's very neat....loved the "how-to... snack" *wink*

    CONGRATULATIONS, Missy!!!! I'm a huge fan of your books, own them all and have read them too! They're all fabulous and I expect no less when I dive into a new one. Just wish I didn't have to wait so long to get a new one : P

    I look forward to new books from you always, Missy!!
    Okay, I'll try to be back later but hands giving me problems (arthritis is in a MAJOR flare-up this week due to weather not making up its mind!) and a migraine, so we'll see how the day pans out lol. Missing class now so I can head home early.
    Thanks! *BIG hugs all around for anyone that wants one*

  89. Joanne, playing with different methods until you find one that works for you is very important!

    I, too, would love to try an e-reader. I played with a friend's iPad and really thought it was cool. Although a Kindle would be so much easier to stick in your purse. I wish I could enter to win! :)

    You know... I just had a thought. If each Seeker pitched in just a little, I might be able to afford one...


  90. Thanks for the well wishes, Charlotte!

  91. Mary said: "Snowflake users are INHERENTLY evil."

    So, I guess that even goes for pastors' wives. I must remember to torture a "Missy" character in my next book. I think she will be crushed in an avalanche.

  92. Jodie,

    For me, with Steeple Hill, I had to have two full manuscripts written for those first two sales. After that, I've been able to submit proposals. That way we don't have to invest too much time in a book that might not work for them.

    I think most of us write proposals, but I'll let others jump in if they write more. I do know one of us tends to write a little more of her books since she's more of a pantser. But I better let her tell that. :)

  93. Huh. I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who writes or works on the laptop actually on my lap! I kept feeling guilty I wasn't at a desk. lol


  94. If you have a Mac now, you might like Scrivener for visually tracking scenes. I love the virtual corkboard!

    Thanks so much for sharing your process!

    valerie at valeriecomer dot com

  95. LOL, Mary and Myra! Myra, I look forward to starring in your book, however short the stint may be. :)

  96. Hannah, thank you!! It's good to see you around here again. Boy, I sure hope you feel better. Maybe a little TLC at home will do the trick.

    BTW, I sure hope your professor doesn't hang out in Seekerville! LOL

  97. Patrice, I love working in my lap! Especially since my desk is down in the basement where there are no windows. Feels like a dungeon.

    Although, when my son went off to college, I tried to take over his desk and room. But I found I still like to work on the couch with my feet propped up. (Not to mention that when he got home for the summer, he moved all my stuff out of his room!) :)

    One thing I love about my new Mac is that it doesn't get hot. I used to have to use a lap pad with fans in it so I wouldn't burn my legs. Now, no problems at all with heat!

  98. Valerie, I saw that corkboard on the trial software. It looks so cool! I do think it'll work great for me. I can't wait to try it when I get going on this new book.

  99. Great peek into your writing world, Missy.
    I love the title of your new book :-)
    I love charts too. Not so good with spreadsheets :-(
    With charts...well...I can write outside the boxes (snicker)

  100. Pepper, I love charts on paper. I love writing with a nice .5 lead mechanical pencil! :)

    I'm willing to give a spreadsheet a try, but Excel intimidates me. I'm always afraid of messing something up. LOL

  101. Thanks, Nicole!

    Okay, lunchtime! Pasta with tomatoes and parmesan anyone?

  102. I actually meant SNOWFLAKE USERS AREN'T Inherently evil.

    Wow, two letters and an apostrophe really make a huge difference.

    I need an editor.

  103. I am actually wildly hungry for pumpkin pie and turkey today.

    I think that means it's officially FALL.

    Of course, I'm off on the holidays. I know the food of the day is Heath Bars and SNICKERS.

    There is zero tolerance for adult trick or treaters. We're the last group that it's okay to discriminate against.

  104. Yes, Mary, I'd say an apostrophe and nt are pretty life changing. They may have saved yours!


    I had a craving for turkey last week. Made turkey and dressing (Stove Top, but still good). I just hope I'll be craving it again in a month! :)

  105. Missy, congratulations on another sale! Squee!!!!

  106. Pink M&Ms all around...its a girl!

    Bellamy Grace weighing in at 7lb 3oz and 19.5 inches.

    PTL everyone is fine.

    Peace, Julie who is now going out to buy a tiny pink dress.

  107. WHOO HOOO!!!! WE GET PINK M&M'S!!! :)

    Congrats, Julie!!! So exciting. Enjoy shopping for pink, frilly things. And give little Bellamy Grace a hug from all the Seekerville folks.

  108. LOL, Missy! I understand your point. I don't have to get out of the car. :D

    Thanks for the tips on writing a proposal. Maybe once I get an agent and get my first book sold I'll start doing that. I do have a sequel for book one and the beginnings of thoughts for book three. I'll include those in my proposal for book one so they can see I'm serious and have plans for more.

    Congrats on the sale! How exciting! I have to tell you, though. I don't know how on earth you stay at 60,000 words. LOL



  109. Missy, thanks for this great post and all the awesome resources! I'm printing out the Story Diamond and anything else I can find on those websites, and I've added those writing books to my 'to read' list. :)

    One thing that stands out to me is that the proportion of your day you set aside for writing sounds a lot like mine would if I had my wish. When I'm working on a project that I love, I'd rather work on it all day, even through meals sometimes (although, coffee & snacks would still play a pivotal role in my writing strategy, lol). And I don't have kids yet, but when I do I'm sure they'll be nudging me when it's supper time too. My husband is getting me used to it already. LOL :)

    I'd love to be entered into all draws. Thanks so much!


  110. Congratulations on your latest sale! I'd love to be entered in a drawing for one of your books.

    Mary M

  111. Someone else mentioned it already but lots of people over on the NaNo boards rave about Scrivener - there's a Win version this year available for beta testing. I think I may have to do that [I also have YWriter and Liquid Story Binder but haven't messed with them much - Y is free and LSB I got on really good sale]. What I really want is something with a really good timeline thing. Like you'd use in a History book or something.

    And yay! Pink M&Ms are good :). Mine have peanut butter in them.

    /puts out Oreo spiders and Fall sugar cookies/

  112. Thanks for the little snapshot into your world and process. I bought The Snowflake Method too and am liking it so far. Someone else also recommended The Moral Premise to me, it is on my wish list at Amazon.

  113. Congrats, Missy!!
    Would love to win and read your books....have only read one of yours so far (A Forever Christmas).
    Also, I'd like to win a Kindle.
    It's been fun this week seeing how you gals write, start your day, etc.

  114. Missy, Congratulations on Selling your newest book!!!

    I've never had a Heath bar before - I'll have to hunt one down and try it :)

    Julie - Congratulations on your new Granddaughter!

  115. Mary,
    LOL - adults discriminated against for trick or treating :)

    Eva Maria Hamilton at gmail dot com

  116. Thanks, Linnette! You know, I used to have a hard time coming up with 55k, and now I struggle to keep it under 60k. I'm getting wordier as I go! :)

  117. Mary C., I'm so picturing you with a mask on and huge pillow case going door-to-door to get candy!! :)

  118. Dana, when I'm on a roll, I'll sometimes look up and think why am I so hungry? And it'll be 2 pm! :)

    Thanks for stopping by!

  119. Carol, thank you! I'm glad to hear from several of you about Scrivener. Sounds like something that I'll love!

  120. Caroline, don't you just love the Amazon wish list?! :) I keep adding and adding. The next thing I need to do is teach my hubby how to use it!

  121. Thanks, Jackie! I appreciate you reading A Forever Christmas!

  122. Thanks, Eva Maria! A heath bar has a crunchy toffee inside dipped in chocolate. Very buttery and yummy!

  123. Missy, that probably means your writing skilss are getting better and better. :D


  124. Missy,

    Congratulations on your latest sale! Thanks for sharing the good news with us via your drawing.

    Also thank you for the insight into your day and writing system. (I’m ROFL at the bed head/shower dilemma. Writing IS a family career, isn’t it?) Since I haven't had a novel published (yet), I was surprised to hear about writing 3 chapters before all the plotting, etc. is done; but after you discuss it, it does make perfect sense. I also appreciate your naming the sources of the different charts and helps you use.

    For me, each novel began with a different inspiration, some characters, another theme, another plain old mystery that wanted solving!

    I begin with a general outline, character profiles, and any necessary research. It seems my first drafts are actually beefy outlines (of perhaps 40,000-50,000 words). During the second draft I add more plot complications, deepen characters, expand theme and symbolism. And like you—somewhere in the middle of the first draft I think it will never be what it should (long enough, short enough, deep enough, sensory enough, funny enough…). And while that point always rattles me, I love the whole process. And isn’t it great when you later read your own work and cry or laugh, surprised by what’s there?

    Angela Hunt has recommended Scribner (I think I’ve spelled it right) as an aid for a Mac. Maybe it will work to replace Writer’s Blocks (which I will have to check out). I always need calendars and character’s life timelines. And I typically have something visual and/or other sense to help me plug into my story world each morning, something unique to that particular novel: photos, a poster, music, an object that resembles a key symbol in that story. I wrap up with the editing checklist (which I wish I could get to less than 2 pages!) including the list of dreaded “weasel words” to replace.

    Happy writing, all,

    Mary Kay
    Mary [at] marykaymoody [dot] com

  125. Mary Kay, thanks for sharing how you work!

    As for writing the chapters before doing the synopsis...that's something I just tried this last time after hearing others say they like to write the first chapters to help get to know the characters. It did help me. Of course, I already had those 3 chapters pretty much planned out before writing them. :)

  126. Hi Missy,

    Great post. I'm a panster, although I complete my character worksheets and usually do a chapter outline. I have the Snowflake Method and I'm trying to tell myself to dive in!

  127. Congratulations on your new Love Inspired book. I love the Love Inspired line! I enjoyed reading about your writing routine. I think being able to see how published authors go about the process is a big help for those of us in the early stages of trying to birth a novel. Thank you for sharing.

    Would love to be entered into your giveaway and the Kindle giveaway.

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.


  128. Edwina, it's not for everyone (just see Myra's response!). :) But after having to work on trying not to be episodic, I decided to work through the method so my story would be about one thing and have coherence. The Moral Premise really helped me with that as well.

  129. Thanks, Cindy! I hope it was helpful.

  130. Hi Missy:

    Did you know there are at least two programs that let you run PC software on a Mac. You might look into this if you have PC programs you’d like to use on your Mac.

    I just got back from OKC, from an all day Real Estate Commission Workshop for instructors. The topic: Course Creation and Script Writing. It was very much in line with what we talk about here. Given your post, you would fit right in with all these instructors.

    Here is what we were shown how to do:

    1. Come up with a topic that best matches your skill set as an instructor.(Write whatyou know about.)
    2. Come up with a theme for the course so you can tie in graphics, music, and videos. We did script writing and running. (We also did a little copyright law and where to get free graphics, videos, and music.)
    3. Divide the course into three parts.
    4. Write the last part first making it so good, with a KO ending, so everyone will give you a good evaluation, talk about your course to others, and want to take more of your courses.
    5. Write a great first part with surprise hooks, music, and videos.
    6. Make part two an interesting bridge between the first and last part. Add a lot of student involment as they often get tired or restless after the first break.

    These are mostly 3-hour courses but the process is similar. (We're all trying to be loved. : ))

    I’d love to win your next book.


    vmres (at) swbell (dot) net

  131. Love those ideas, Vince. And very much like presenting a book or workshop. :)

    I'll check out those programs. I have heard of one where you run Windows and the Mac operating systems in parallel. Not sure i want to mess with that, but I'll see if I can find what you're talking about.


  132. Thanks for all the wonderful reference material. I will certainly be checking into several of them.


  133. Missy! Look at how author-ish you are!! Love the way you start your in multiple flavors! And I remember the Splenda!!

    I absolutely LOVE the Story Within Guidebook. Thank you so much for the great post you had months ago on it. It speaks to me and let's me organize my story the way that makes sense to my muddled mind, LOL!

    Great assortments of techniques. Don't you just love cutting and pasting methods as they work?

    Since I've signed up for NaNoWriMo, I've bought Susan May Warren's latest tool, Book Buddy.
    I just printed it off and plan to study this weekend.

    There's just no time for a day job!!

    Great post, Missy! I sounds just like you, LOL!

  134. Missy, nothing wrong with plotting (though I do have reservations about that pink coffee cup).

    Congrats on the sale. Can't wait to read your next book!


  135. Kewl to see how you write and congrats, Missy

    Wow, what a small world... I have a single cup coffe maker too. I use mine for tea. Oh and that Heath bar looked. Pretty good too. I've been trying to cut back on the chocolate though.

    I dream my stories. start writing and do a rough rough outline as I go.

    Tina P

  136. Thanks, Cindy!
    Audra, I haven't heard of Book Buddy yet. Oh, goody! Another resource to check out!! :) Thanks for sharing.

  137. LOL, Walt!! You know it's the best mug EVER. Even if it is pink. It's made by Life is Good, and it's a really thick, heavy old-fashioned diner type mug. i do believe it makes the coffee taste better. And you can have your very own miracle working mug in blue or green or other attractive colors! ;)

  138. Tina P., so good to see you! I've had the beginning of a book come to me in a semi-dreaming state (if that makes sense). it was as I was falling asleep, so I guess it technically wan't a dream. But I quickly woke and there it was!

  139. I'm going to draw a winner now. Be sure to check back this weekend to see if you won!

    Thanks, everyone, for hanging out with us today.

  140. Myra! What KIND of Arabians?? We are "owned" by two Al Khamsa girls, mother and daughter. They are splendid!

    Julie! Yay - congratulations on the lovely little girl!

    Missy, oh no! 2 footer with cancer? So so sorry. Hope he's better and recouping now. Give him a special sniff from May. She sends her best! Thanks for letting me hang out and soak up the wisdom. Even if you and Mary are starting a war. :)

    I'd take either of you as dictator, over most all of 'em we have today.

  141. Holy cow, 144 comments before mine! I loved having the chance to read a little more about your writing life. Since my contracts came in, I'm also doing a lot more convenience cooking, lol. Hmm, I wonder if it's a a required part of a book contract? ;-)
    Angie Breidenbach

  142. Thanks, KC. He's doing great post surgery. Healing very nicely. He had the surgery a month ago but they found out they hadn't gotten all of the tumor. So we're hoping for good results on pathology this time!

  143. Angie, do believe that's in the fine print! :)

  144. That was supposed to say: I do believe it's in the fine print. I just need to shut down for the night and go to bed. :)

  145. Very interesting. Thanks for sharing, Missy! Congrats on your sale!

  146. I would love to win a Kindle! Please enter me in the contest! Thanks!!!

  147. Thanks, Martha!
    Anita, thanks for coming by.

  148. Hi Missy,

    Congratulations to a fellow Panser!

    When I get an idea for a book, I can't seem to wait to jump in and least the first few chapters and THEN I stop to sort of plot the rest of it.

    Your schedule is similar to mine, sans the kids getting off to school, but I only have one four-legged monster, but Jack is the uncontested boss of the house. (g)

    Loved the look into your life.

    Sandy Elzie