• Janie Crouch


I was going to write about my workspace. I know that’s always a favorite (for me too! I love see other people’s creative nooks). But honestly, mine is quite boring.

We have four school-aged children, so I made the conscious decision to put my desk in the corner of the living room when we moved last year. I try to do most of my writing while they’re at school, but when they are home I don’t want to be off in a room by myself every time I’m trying to read a page or edit a few paragraphs.

Perhaps a little more interesting is my white board. Here’s what the beginning stages of a six-boo

k Harlequin Intrigue proposal looks like. In this case I started with the villains. I have to work out who the overall bad guy is and why he is. Then who the individual baddies will be in each book (assuming the super villain doesn’t get caught until the end).

I also have to figure out names of all the characters so none are too similar (I almost ended up with a Deacon and Danica! – that would not work well). Plus the tropes I’m aiming for (secret baby, enemies to lovers, friends to lovers, reunited lovers, bad boy/good girl, Cinderella, surprise pregnancy…).

After I get all the series-wide issues worked out, then I start to look at the books individually. I end up going through about 4-6 pages of 18x12 inch sketch-pad size sheets of paper plotting out each book. It often comes out in flow chart form so I’m sure I’m not writing myself into a corner.

Then finally I sit and write! I of course have many trusty books at my side as I do, including these:

After about a month of writing the first draft –I try to write 3,000 words a day, five days a week—I go through two separate rounds of edits done by me. The first for overall story structure, the second for individual sentence and word strengthening. Then finally it’s ready to send off to my beta readers and personal editors then finally to my editor at Harlequin.

And then finally this: