Organizing Characters and Plots #Writing

When I write short stories or novels, I’m what’s called a pantser. I don’t do outlines. I make up the story as I go along. I don’t worry too much about character traits until I’ve finished the story and am ready to edit.

I submit chapters of my work to a weekly critique group. When other participants make suggestions about my characters and plot that I like, I make a note of them at the beginning of the chapter. That way, when I go back and edit, I know what needs to be done in that chapter.

When I’m ready to publish a book, I try to find a cover that matches my main character. With The Red Dress, I had to do it a little differently as far as the cover was concerned. Originally, my main character, Eve, had blond hair. But when Leonore Dvorkin, my editor at DLD Books, found a picture of a lovely young woman with black hair, I decided to change Eve’s hair from blond to black.

They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but I believe my cover got more rave reviews than the book itself. By the way, The Red Dress, along with My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds, are available this week absolutely free as part of Smashwords Read an eBook Week sale. Click here to download the books.

How about you writers out there? Do you outline your stories ahead of time, or do you fly by the seat of your pants? Thanks to Stevie Turner for inspiring this, and thanks to you, of course, for reading.


New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.


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Author: abbiejohnsontaylor

I'm the author of two novels,, two poetry collections, and a memoir with another novel on the way. My work has appeared in various journals and anthologies. I'm visually impaired and live in Sheridan, Wyoming, where for six years, I cared for my totally blind late husband who was paralyzed by two strokes. Please visit my website at

10 thoughts on “Organizing Characters and Plots #Writing”

  1. Hi Abbie.
    Great aricle.
    ActuallyI know you’re just quoting a cliche here, but actually, I just read an article not long ago that stated that persons who shop for EBooks are more likely to click on one with a good cover than those with covers that are not eye catching.
    Since when looking at EBooks the cover is the first thing the potential buyer sees the cover is probably one of the most important selling points.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re right about the cover being the main selling point of the book. Actually, I have received some good comments from readers about The Red Dress. Thank you for stopping by and commenting.


      1. Hi.

        You’re welcome for the comment.

        You should actually start inserting that cover photo every now and then into your blog posts.

        I’d also like to see you do more to promote that book.

        No offence but you seem to spend more time promoting your older work than your newest release.

        According to what folks have told me, and there have been a few, the cover is very nice and I imagine, the book is too, but honestly no one seems to know much about it.

        Excerpts, and other such promotional things would be a grand idea.


      2. My cover is inserted at the bottom of all my blog posts in a separate heading that says “New.” Arrow down from there and you’ll find a brief description similar to what you see on Facebook. I plan to do more to promote the book. Thanks.


  2. Patty, there should be a link that says, “Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers.” That’s where the picture is. It’s below the link to DLD Books. I can see the image, but I’ll ask Leonore to take a look when she has a minute. Thanks.


    1. Like I said, it may just be the way my computer reads it.

      When I insert a pic it reads it as a graphic not a link.

      Whatever works for you.

      Liked by 1 person

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