Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2023 #Potluck – #Writing Plotting and Planning by Rebecca Douglass

Welcome to the new series of Posts from Your Archives 2023 where I will be sharing posts from the last six months of 2022 I have selected from the archives of willing participants. If you wish to be included the information is at the the end of the post.

As writers we tend to find the process that suits us best and in this first post from author Rebecca Douglass, she shares the plotting and planning involved in writing one of her murder mysteries. Also some lovely views of Maine in the autumn.

Writer’s Wednesday: Plotting and Planning by Rebecca Douglass

I think I’m overdue for a writer check-in. I’ve been visiting a friend in Maine and enjoying fall color, walks in yellow-orange-red forests, and good times with friends. But there has also been some time to write (at least, to write those hasty #writephoto flash pieces!) and to think about writing.

“Thinking about writing” sounds like the sort of thing you do when you want to be a writer but don’t want to actually do the work, so let me clarify. I’m thinking fairly specifically about a new novel in development (while I wait to see what I’m going to do with the one I worked on for the last year). I am, in fact, plotting my next murder while I walk (in a manner of speaking. No actual people are hurt in this plotting, though inattention to where I’m walking may injure me if I’m not careful).

The process of developing a new story is a somewhat long and convoluted one for me. I start with a germ of an idea. In this case, like the last, it was the discovery of the body. Great. Now I need to decide who that corpse is, and why, what else is going on in town at the same time, and of course, who did the dire and dreadful deed. And all the people who could have done it but didn’t. So that’s what I’m doing.

After thinking, I make notes. Sometimes I make notes while thinking, if I’m at the computer and not walking. I have a document open on my laptop into which I type all the thoughts and ideas, adding to what’s there and making notes if I change things, but at this point deleting nothing, even if I think I’ve changed my mind. I’m more or less using the “question method” (see very old discussion of this here), which in short means I list the questions the book has to answer (fairly easy with a mystery, but as I’m developing as a writer I am more aware of the questions that need asking beyond the simple mystery). Then begins the hard part–answering those questions. That’s where I am now, with some hopes of having this thing ready to go in November to harness the energy of NaNoWriMo. Given I have less than a week, I may not make it, but I will probably still count myself in on the NaNo bandwagon and start writing when ready.

Maybe my next writer post (which will be the IWSG next week–where did October go?) should be about the pros and cons of NaNo. Meanwhile, I’m at least working some, and hope you are writing–and having fun at it.

Meanwhile, here are a couple of photos of Maine in the fall. 

Webb Lake, Weld, ME

Tumbledown Mountain, Mt. Blue State Park, ME

©Rebecca M. Douglass, 2022

My thanks to Rebecca for inviting me to share posts from her archives and I know she would love to hear from you.

Rebecca M Douglass

About Rebecca Douglass

After a lifetime of reading, and a decade or more of slinging books at the library and herding cats with the PTA, Rebecca began to turn her experiences into books of her own, publishing her first in 2012. That failed to quiet the voices in her head, but seemed to entertain a number of readers, so she wrote some more, which generated still more voices. Despite the unlimited distractions provided by raising sons to the point of leaving home (and preparing to move without forwarding address if necessary to retain that empty nest), not to mention the mountains that keep calling (very hard to resist the urging of something the size of the Sierra Nevada), she has managed to pen a total of 9 books plus a novella (which we suppose makes 10).

A selection of books by Rebecca Douglass

A review for Death by Donut (Pismawallops PTA Mysteries Book 5) 

Bee   5.0 out of 5 stars A Fabulous Read!  Reviewed in the United Kingdom

This is my second visit to see JJ McGregor on Pismawallops Island, one of the many picturesque islands that make up the Puget Sound in Washington State, albeit under very unfortunate circumstances for one businessman, Brady Ginnis.

The reader is straight into the drama and action when Brady dies whilst sipping his coffee and eating a donut. He had a known peanut allergy and carried an Epipen but could not be saved, though JJ does her very best to try. JJ is puzzled as to why Brady would eat a donut containing nuts and what happened to his breakfast companion, a woman named Wanda Stromburgh. Busy forty-something JJ has a part-time job at the local library as a general dogsbody who sorts and shelves books. Vice president of Orcaville High school PTA, divorced JJ is hard-up, has a teenage son, Brian, and is engaged to her sweetheart, hunky police chief Ron Karlson. With Ron off the island attending a conference, JJ begins her sleuthing without frustrating the police too much. In addition to all of this, she has her six-year-old foster daughter, Holly, staying with her and has to cope with Holly’s dad, Pete’s vanishing act.

I enjoyed Rebecca Douglass’s touches of humour, in JJ and Ron’s ribbing of each other. Though Ron is away for the duration, JJ stays in contact with him and they have a strong, solid and slightly saucy relationship, even if JJ is stalling on the next step for them – actually planning the wedding. Then there’s JJ’s heavy involvement in the PTA elections and the campaign for a swimming pool for the school. It’s no wonder she feels she has no time for wedding planning!

Every good cozy mystery needs a great baddie or a nasty gossiper and in Death by DonutMoira certainly fits that bill! This is a compelling tale that’s put together extremely well and includes a tight plot. With buckets of drama, fretting and emotion, it is a masterful addition to the series. Very highly recommended. 

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UKFollow Rebecca: Goodreads – Website: Rebecca Douglass – LinkedIn: Rebecca Douglass – – Facebook: Rebecca Douglass

How to feature in the series?

  • All I need you to do is give me permission to dive in to your archives and find two posts to share here on Smorgasbord. (
  • Rather than a set topic, I will select posts at random of general interest across a number of subjects from the second six months of 2022. (it is helpful if you have a link to your archives in your sidebar by month)
  • As I will be promoting your books as part of the post along with all your information and links so I will not be sharing direct marketing or self- promotional posts in the series.
  • If you are an author I am sure you will have a page on your blog with the details, and an ‘about page’ with your profile and social media links (always a good idea anyway). I will get everything that I need.
  • As a blogger I would assume that you have an ‘about page’ a profile photo and your links to social media.
  • Copyright is yours and I will ©Your name on every post… and you will be named as the author in the URL and subject line.
  • Previous participants are very welcome to take part again.
  • Each post is reformatted for my blog and I don’t cut and paste, this means it might look different from your own post especially if you are using the block editor
  • If I do share a post which contains mainly photographs I will share up to five and link back to the original post for people to view the rest.

N.B – To get the maximum benefit from your archive posts, the only thing I ask is that you respond to comments individually and share on your own social media.. thank you.


59 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2023 #Potluck – #Writing Plotting and Planning by Rebecca Douglass

  1. I always enjoy learning about other writers’ processes. The kind of plot-prep that Rebecca does is essential (for me, at least) when trying to jump into Nanowrimo and achieve those word counts. I hope her efforts paid off. A fun share, Sally.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thanks so much for having me here, Sally! Looks like i’m late to the party but I’m on Seattle time—just a bit behind you all 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. An interesting post from Rebecca. I like the idea of listing questions when planning or plotting a story. I go with the “then what?” method and like that a lot. Thanks for sharing this archived post, Sally!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – 20th – 26th March 2023 – De-Cluttering, New Releases Promotion, Big Band Era, Stevie Wonder, Podcast, Health, Reviews, Bloggers and Funnies | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

  5. This was not only a good review but the story sounds intriging.
    Of course I approve of the name JJ (Jay-Jay – can’t think why? LOL)
    Love the title ‘Death by (in this case) Donut’.
    the Ice-cream one sound equally as intriging and as for Library… Yep. That’s where my OFSTED inspector was found dead. (in my board game)

    Liked by 2 people

  6. So glad you picked something from Rebecca’s archives. I usually read them on time, but I’ve been missing some of late. Fortunately she usually forgives me.
    And I’m looking forward to that new book.
    Her Pismawallops PTA books are absolutely great!

    Liked by 2 people

Comments are closed.