Plotter? Pantser? How about an 80/20 hybrid? (Melissa Robbins)

I HAVE to know point A and where point B ends up so I can leave a trail of bread crumbs (clues) along the way.  I’ve read that some mystery writers can pen a story without knowing who the killer is until the end.  Nope.  Not me. 

Besides using the great plotting method by Alexandra Sokoloff (her Elements of Acts are awesome), a simple spreadsheet helps me plot out a mystery.  I list each character’s name at the top and below that, I type in his or her agenda, secrets, etc.  My first person heroine may not know what’s going on, but I have to know. 

But like the title suggests, I’m a hybrid and only too happy to follow a character who leads me in another direction.  He or she may reveal a secret I didn’t even know about!  I just have to be careful my characters don't leave me astray.

The key with writing, whether you're a plotter or a pantser, is use what works for you.