Planning a Book Scene and a Layout

 I want to thank Debby for letting me visit today. I write the Faith Hunter Scrap This Mystery Series featuring a scrapbooker who works in her grandmothers’ store and finds herself talked into helping a friend prove they are innocent of murder. 

 In writing Designed to Death, the second book of the series, I realized my process for designing a scene is very similar to how I approach designing a layout. I hadn’t realized this before as I usually have tunnel-vision when working on a book, and don’t take time to scrap until after I’'m done. With my scrapbooking series though, I find that working on layouts helps me think of ideas for the books.

For my novels, with every scene I need to figure out if the purpose is to move the plot forward, introduce a new character/suspect, or letting the reader get to know the main character better. Whatever is included in the scene has to draw the focus to the element that makes the story better. For my layout, the focus is the picture I want to showcase on the page, and the other elements that will draw out the story in the photograph.

When I write a scene the process I use is:

Find the focus – the point of the scene. This step usually takes me the longest as most times I need to try a few different “starts” before I settle on one that fits the flow and pace best.   

Figure out the setting. Sometimes in a draft I forget to “ground” the scene and my characters appear to be talking in the middle of nowhere.

Descriptions – the little details (embellishments if you will) that add personality to the scene. I can over-describe an item or add too much inner-musing of my characters. This is where the lovely delete key comes in handy when I’'m editing.

Focus – the photo and the journaling to show and tell the story that needs to be told.

Setting – cardstock or pattern paper. This decision is the hardest when I scrapbook. I can usually figure out quickly if I want to use cardstock or patter paper as the foundation, but narrowing down to which design or color can take some time.

Embellishments. Like with writing, I can get a little heavy-handed in this step. I have to remind myself I don’t need to use all the embellishments that go with the theme (even when they are in the same package) on the same layout.  

As a thank you to Debby for letting me visit, I'’ll be giving away a copy of the ARC (advanced reader copy) of Cropped to Death. If you’d like to be entered, just leave a comment from now until Sunday, April 14. I’ll announce the winner Monday in the comments section.  

Scrappingly Yours,

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Christina is the author of the Scrap This Mystery Series published by Henery Press. Cropped to Death was released November 2012 and the second book of the series, Designed to Death, will be released September 3, 2013. 

Incredible post Christina!  Whether you are a scrapbooker or a writer or want-to-be writer this is awesome direction and advice.  I hope you enter the giveaway as I've read an excerpt for Cropped to Death.  I can't wait to go pick up my copy. Thank you Christina.

Have a Crafty Day!


  1. How exciting! Thanks for the opp! I love the way you described writing like scrapping!

  2. Love reading this! Thank you for the inspiration and the chance to win!

  3. What a great post! I could identify with your "find the focus" point in both scrapbooking and writing. I would love a chance to win your ARC.

  4. Great post! Can't wait to read your book and for the chance to win!

  5. Enjoyed reading your post. Your books sound so fun, thanks for a chance to win.

  6. Great post, congrats on the book :)

  7. Ohhh, A new scrapbooking mystery series that I can check out. I can't seem to get enough of the books that surround scrapbooking and mysteries. Thanks for a chance to win one.

  8. Great post! I love scrapbooking mysteries and added it to my list on Amazon.

  9. Thanks for having me, Debby. And, thank you to all the comments for welcoming me. The winner of the ARC of Cropped Death is debb. I'll be emailing you for your mailing info.

    --Christina Freeburn


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