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  • Lynne Shelby

Plotter or Pantser? - Deborah Klee - Just Bea - This Writing Life #27

Today, I'm delighted to welcome author Deborah Klee with a fab guest post.

Deborah's latest novel, Just Bea, was published in February 2021.

Over to you, Deborah...

Plotter or Pantser?

by Deborah Klee

Writers are often asked whether they are a plotter or a pantser, a pantser meaning to fly by the seat of their pants by not planning the story before starting to write. I am a bit of both. I always do some planning and aim to have a synopsis and the ten key scenes as a minimum before I start to write. This provides the bones of the story but it is in the writing that the magic happens and a story unfolds making itself known to the author.

When I started writing Just Bea, I knew that my protagonist worked in a Knightsbridge department store and so I went on a research visit to Harrods with my friend who had been a buyer for Harrods all of her working life. I collected a wealth of information about what it was like working for Harrods and what went on behind the scenes. However, at that time I had not decided where Bea would live and so we took a train from Knightsbridge and deciding it was a reasonable commute for her, alighted at Kings Cross.

Although I had travelled through Kings Cross many times in the past, the regeneration of Granary Wharf was new to me and the canal beckoned. It was a warm summer’s day and so we walked along the canal admiring the jauntily painted houseboats and river life. It was here we discovered a second-hand bookshop boat which of course we had to visit.

It was only when I was writing Just Bea that the houseboat community became an important strand of the story. The characters, including Leila from Fandangle Foods (modelled on the bookshop barge), and Mouse with his Labrador dog called Bear took on a life of their own. Several readers have said how much they enjoyed these characters and reading about life on the canal.

The plan I made served a purpose and helped to shape the story but it was the magic that happened when following my characters that brought the story to life. That is what I love the most about writing stories. It can be scary not knowing exactly what is going to happen but when you let go and trust the process it takes you on a magical journey of discovery.

Maybe there’s a word for a writer who is both planner and pantser – a plantser?


Thank you, Deborah, for writing such an interesting guest post. It was fascinating to hear about your writing process. Wishing Just Bea every success.

Just Bea

Sometimes you have to stop trying to be like everyone else and just be yourself

Bea Stevens and Ryan O'Marley are in danger of falling through the cracks of their own lives; the only difference between them is that Bea doesn’t know it yet.

When her world is shaken like a snow-globe, Bea has to do what she does best; adapt. Homeless man Ryan is the key to unlocking the mystery of her friend Declan’s disappearance but can she and Ryan trust one another enough to work together?

As the pieces of her life settle in new and unexpected places, like the first fall of snow, Bea must make a choice: does she try to salvage who she was or embrace who she might become?

Just Bea takes the reader on a heartwarming journey from the glamour of a West End store to the harsh reality of life on the streets and reminds us all that home really is where the heart is.

To purchase Just Bea, please click on the link below (Left click +Ctrl):

Universal book link

About Deborah Klee

Deborah has worked as an occupational therapist, a health service manager, a freelance journalist, and management consultant in health and social care.

Her protagonists are often people who exist on the edges of society. Despite the very real, but dark, subject matter her stories are uplifting, combining pathos with humour. They are about self-discovery and the power of friendships and community.

The Borrowed Boy, her debut, was shortlisted for the Deviant Minds Award 2019, and was awarded book of the month by Chill with a Book readers. Her second novel Just Bea was published in February 2021.

Deborah lives on the Essex coast, England. She loves to walk by the sea or the surrounding countryside where she fills her pockets with shells, and acorns, and her head with stories.

Twitter: @DeborahKlee

Pinterest: @DeborahKleeAuthor

Facebook: Deborah Klée Author

Instagram: DeborahKleeAuthor


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