What’s Your Writing Process: Julie Jarnagin

Julie Jarnagin writes inspirational romance and is a self-proclaimed plotting addict. (I love that, don’t you? LOL) She earned a B.A. in Journalism/Professional Writing from the University of Oklahoma and is a member of America Christian Fiction Writers. Enjoy learning more about her writing process:

Do you tend to write nonfiction or fiction?

When I was younger, I always thought I would write nonfiction, but I finally found my home writing inspirational romance.

How long does it take you to finish a book?

It takes me between a month and a month and a half to write a first draft, but it usually takes me anywhere from three to nine months to edit it, depending on the length of the book and whether or not I’m on a deadline.

What’s your usual approach? Seat of your pants? Outline?

I’m a very detailed outliner. I have a spreadsheet where I list every scene with its POV character, setting, goal, conflict, and disaster (or the reaction, dilemma, and decision if it’s a sequel). I spend about a month brainstorming and plotting before I ever begin writing.

How many rough drafts do you usually go through before you’re satisfied with the final version?

I write a rough first draft. Then I go through an intensive round of rewrites. My final stage is reading through the manuscript several times to polish the writing.

Do you have someone you give your manuscript to for feedback before you give it to an editor or agent?

I have critique partners who read one or two chapters at a time. They’re amazing, and I don’t know what I would do without them.

Sometimes writers get so close to a piece that they aren’t good at judging what needs to stay and what should be edited out. How do you get perspective when this happens?

My critique partners help a lot with this. They are honest when telling me something isn’t working. It also helps for me to step away from a chapter for awhile. When I look at it with a fresh eye, I can see it more clearly. Because of my detailed plotting process, I have less to delete than I think I would if I were a seat of the pants writer. I have my story structure pretty pinned down before I begin writing.

What’s your latest project?

I just finished a series of contemporary romances with Heartsong Presents, Canyon Walls, Canyon Crossing and Canyon Café. Now I’m working on a full-length contemporary romance titled The Wedding Chapel.

Where can we catch up with you online?

I love to connect with writers and readers online:





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7 Comments on "What’s Your Writing Process: Julie Jarnagin"

  1. Great article, thanks Julie!!


    Julie Jarnagin Reply:

    Thanks, Rhonda.


  2. I enjoyed hearing about your process, Julie. I’m with you. I spend lots of time on self-edits. I enjoy watching a story get better and better.


    Julie Jarnagin Reply:

    Thanks, Keli. That’s a great way to look at it!


  3. It’s always fascinating to read about others’ writing process. I think I fall somewhere between a plotter and a pantser. I typically don’t have much of an outline to begin with, but I’ve found it helpful when I revise to write out what’s going on in each chapter and then figure out what I need to add where. Great post!


    Julie Jarnagin Reply:

    Thanks for stopping by, Stacy.


    Cherie Reply:

    Julie, thanks so much for sharing this with us!


  4. I’m impressed by the amount of plotting that you do! I have a plot outline for the book, goals, character dossiers done, etc. before I write, but I don’t plot out each chapter. Maybe I should and I wouldn’t have to rewrite as much 🙂


    Julie Jarnagin Reply:

    Oh, I still have to rewrite. I think I just have to do everything the hard way. 🙂


  5. Jessica R. Patch | February 24, 2012 at 1:44 pm |

    When I grow up, I want to be a plotter like Julie! Loved this interview!


    Julie Jarnagin Reply:

    Lol. It’s not as glamorous as it may seem :p


  6. Jennifer Shirk | February 27, 2012 at 7:14 am |

    WOW, I’d love to be able to get a first draft written that fast! Enjoyed hearing about your writing process!


  7. Julie, My jaw dropped when I read the short amount of time you can get a first draft done. That is so amazing. I really need to speed up my writing time. I’ve been trying to plot in more detail, which has been helping. Thanks for sharing your writing process.


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