Welcome Marilyn Meredith With Her Newest Book and An Interesting Post

Once more Marilyn Meredith visits my blog with another new book. She’s at just under forty published books now, which seems an amazing feat to me for any author. In her post today she talks about her writing process. Thanks to anyone who stops by and hopefully leaves a comment. Wish each of you a great rest of the week. Linda Thorne

My Writing Process

by Marilyn Meredith

Many writers develop a chapter by chapter outline containing the scenes they plan to write. Though this seems like a logical process, it’s one I’ve never been able to use.

Because I write a series, I already have a group of on-going characters—characters that I know quite well. I keep 3 X 5 cards with information about each one on them—a process I started long ago.

When I’m starting a new book in the series, I begin thinking about who would be a good murder victim. In the case of Unresolved I decided it would be a good idea to kill the person who was the main reason Rocky Bluff P.D. was underfunded.  As the ideas began to flow I also came up with all the people who might have wanted this person dead and why.

With new characters, I move to a notebook where I decide on their names and jot down facts about them—who they are, how they look, some back story, and their possible motives if they might be a suspect.

One I get that far I usually decide to begin the book with the death of the victim—always a good place to start.

From there on, I write. While I’m writing, I try to keep a timeline of sorts—what days things are happening. Also, as I’m writing, ideas pop into my head. To make sure I don’t forget them, I jot them down in the notebook I keep next to my computer. I also write down loose ends that need to be tied up at some point.

This might not be the easiest way to do it, but it works for me. And I usually have cup of chai tea close at hand.


Rocky Bluff P.D. is underpaid and understaffed and when two dead bodies turn up, the Unresolveddepartment is stretched to the limit. The mayor is the first body discovered, the second an older woman whose death is caused in a bizarre manner. Because no one liked the mayor, including his estranged wife and the members of the city council, the suspects are many, but each one has an alibi.

Copies may be purchased from Book and Table by emailing bookandtablevaldosta@gmail.com with a 10% discount and free shipping


                                                         Marilyn Speaking at Nipomo Library:

Bio: F. M. Meredith lived for many years in a small beachMe at Nipomo Library community much like Rocky Bluff. She has many relatives and friends who are in law enforcement and share their experiences and expertise with her. She taught writing for Writers Digest Schools for 10 years, and was an instructor at the prestigious Maui Writers Retreat, and has taught at many writers’ conferences. Marilyn is a member of three chapters of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and serves on the board of the Public Safety Writers of America. She lives in the foothills of the Sierra. Visit her at http://fictionforyou.com and her blog at http://marilymeredith.blogspot.com/

Tomorrow, April 27, it’s all about My Exciting Life as an Author. Hope to talk to you there at:

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Welcome Marilyn Meredith With Her Newest Book and An Interesting Post — 19 Comments

  1. You are more than welcome. I enjoyed your post. I keep a timeline too. I print off calendars for each month in the book from Outlook and I write what is going on each day on those calendars. Once I’m through changing and marking up those events and pretty much know the dates will not change, I type the list of events for each day in Word. In rough draft form, the calendars become a mess of scribbles, things written on the sides, bottom, and top with arrows going to each date. This is when I print off new calendars and print the events I’ve now typed in Word. I then paste these typed events on each day of the new calendars and I have a readable timeline.

  2. Our systems seem fairly similar, Marilyn. I also use note cards for characters and scenes–a practice I borrowed from Nabokov. Anyone else looking at some of those cards would probably have no idea what they represent; they can be sketchy.

  3. I wish I were that organized. I don’t write from an office. I do everything fom my surface pro. My co-writer does that same process you speak of, so I usually text her and ask,”What color are Chloe’s eyes again?” I need to start doing this. It would really help! Great post.

  4. Your process sounds a lot like mine–note cards, timeline, etc. But you have explained it in clear, concise language, which should help less experienced writers. I have used calendar pages for a couple of books but not regularly. Now I’m thinking maybe I should add them for each book.

  5. Since I co-write with my husband, and he’s a plotter, he keeps the exact timeline. I follow the characters. When they take a detour, he adjusts the timeline. Works for us!

  6. Marilyn, I am SO impressed! Almost 40 books? Wow! In my dreams! I’m on the second book in my series and I’ve not used notecards, but I think that’s a brilliant idea. Anything to help keep me organized. But I do keep a timeline and keep track of loose ends. Thanks for the tips! Another great post!

    • It’s what works for me, Lida. I know others have different methods, but it helps if you are somewhat organized even if you aren’t a plotter.Thanks for commenting.

  7. I often wondered what Marilyn’s process was…I may go back to the drawing board on my characters and see if I can do a better job on them using this technique. Thank you.

  8. I like that you use a combination of computer and good old-fashioned paper and pen(cil). I’m trying Scrivener with its system of virtual notecards, and that’s one aspect of it that I don’t like. I need to have some information at my actual fingertips, not on a screen. Thanks for a great post.

    • Amy, I tried something similar to Scrivener, but the learning curve was more than what I wanted to spend time on. After all these year, think I’ll stick to my own process.

      • I’m like you, Marilyn, some of these new services are just too much of a learning curve for me. Younger folks seem to catch on quicker while I’d spend a year NOT writing because I was learning what was a short-cut for others.

  9. Marilyn, there may be other comments coming in, but I wanted to thank you now as I’m going to bed soon (early). My 9-year HR Manager job was recently eliminated. I couldn’t believe it. I’m out of work, but it may be the best thing. I’ll find out.
    Thank you again for being a guest on my blog. You do have a good following.