Writing Tips – Davalynn Spencer

Today I’m happy to introduce Davalynn to you…


Davalynn Spencer writes heart-tugging, cowboy romance set along the Front Range of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. She is the wife and mother of professional rodeo bullfighters and an award-winning rodeo journalist and former crime-beat reporter who caters to Blue the Cowdog and mouse detectors Annie and Oakley. Connect with her at www.davalynnspencer.com.

From Pantser to Board-plotter

As a novelist, I started out writing as a “pantser” – someone who writes by the seat of their pants. It worked fine for my first book, before I had contracts and deadlines. Before I needed to know where I was going.

Now, however, not so much.

It’s harder to get where you’re going when you don’t know where that is.

Today I start out a new manuscript by “pantsing” the first fifty or so pages. By then I have a general feel for the story and I pull out my whiteboard.

I’ve divided the board into thirty rectangular boxes by using thin strips of duct tape. Each box represents a potential chapter.

At first, I used colored dry-erase pens to rough out my basic story idea, adding detail as I went. But now I use sticky-notes. (What did we ever do without them?)

Since I write Western romance, my primary characters are the hero and heroine. I use pink notes for the heroine, blue for the hero, green for setting, and yellow for conflict and/or the antagonist.

If I want to relocate a scene, I don’t have to erase and rewrite, I simply move the sticky notes.

As you can see by the photo in this post, the visual affect is a great help in quickly catching where I need to add conflict. In this pictured “rough draft,” my setting notes are clustered at one end deliberately, but there isn’t enough trauma or drama in the story—so unlike our everyday lives.

This method works well for me, but I’ve also learned that none of my methods are static or set in stone. They are more organic, changing as I grow as a writer. I’m so glad. Because life and learning are all about changing and growing, hanging on to what works and throwing out what doesn’t.

About An Improper Proposal

Widowed before she says “I do,” a mail order bride asks a stranger to take her groom’s place and ends up a rancher’s wife facing snakes, scoundrels, and second chances.

Buy link: http://tinyurl.com/kolvloz

1 reply
  1. Andrea Stephens
    Andrea Stephens says:

    I’m not a writer, just an avid reader. I love seeing the different ways authors work. Plotter’s, Pantser’s and a little bit of both. I find behind the scenes peeks into the process make me love those books even more.


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