Sunday, September 30, 2012

Uncontrollable Blog Tour

Today we have a very special guest with us. S.R. Johannes, award winning author of Untraceable and her latest release Uncontrollable. She took the time to give us a peek behind the scenes and talk about the essentials of plotting a novel.

Also...Shelli is giving away a free chapter or query critique to one lucky reader. (or maybe I should say writer)

~Thank you Shelli for joining me here on Words Escape Me. I'm a huge fan of your work and am thrilled to have you here today. 

~So I have to ask, are you a plotter or a panster?

I used to be a total pantser. But after it took me 3 years to do Untraceable, I changed my approach. So now I develop a query pitch first and then bullet out the story. This is my shell of an outline and that ends up expanding into my overall story.

So I guess I am both. I plot at a high level –I know the story and how it generally plays out - but as far as specifics – like clues and twists – it comes as I write.

~I love to read about how authors bring their creations to light. I know there are about a million different ways to flesh out a plot. Can you tell us what works for you and share a little bit about your technique?

After I write my pitch letter – I know the overall story. Then I start with a bulleted list of what happens in my head from A to Z (again at a high level – so for example
·      Grace loses father.
·      Grace finds evidence.
·      Grace takes it to police
·      They don’t believe her.
·      Etc etc.
I go as far as I can with what I have in mind.
Then, those bullets end up bunched into chapters.
I talk through the story with a couple of beta readers to see if I can explain it out loud. Out of those conversations – I end up figuring out some more details as I externally process. It gives my beta readers a chance to thro win ideas too. I add more bullets in and flush it out based on the conversation.

After that, I start writing the chapters and the details come into play as I write that chapter.  So for example I didn’t know that the evidence was a Cheetos bag. But it had to be something that could be mistaken for trash to someone but was a clue to Grace. Yet still crazy enough to make you question her sanity.

~Do you have any advice or resources that you can recommend to a writer to help them discover their own plotting technique? 

If you spend too much time reworking your plot and/or your book/idea over and over – that might be a sign that your process is not working. I’m not saying your first draft doesn’t change. But the general story/idea should be there and unfold at a high level. I’m not saying you don’t need to edit or revise, but if you are totally reworking your whole plot and characters every draft – then it might be a sign that you might need to plan out the story in some more detail before you write.

Try to research plotting books and try out different techniques. You will know when you find the right one for you.

Thanks again Shelli for taking the time to chat with us. 

To celebrate the release of Uncontrollable S.R. Johannes has agreed to offer something unique for our giveaway. A free chapter or query letter critique.

Helpful links~

S.R. Johannes blog   Untraceable on Amazon  Uncontrollable on Amazon
You can also click on the Uncontrollable banner on the right to link the rest of the blog tour and other chances to win prizes.

Enter here for a chance to win  a chapter or query critique from S.R. Johannes. This is a great opportunity for all you writer folks. We know  the more eyes to see our work the better.


  1. Thanks for the informative interview with S.R. Johannes. It's always interesting to hear how a writer plots her story. Congratulations, Shelli!

  2. Awesome ideas! Great to see a different giveaway on the tour! :)



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