Copyright 2014. Chloe Douglas. All rights reserved.
Chloe Palov, writing romance as Chloe Douglas, was born in Washington, D.C., and graduated
from George Mason University with a degree in art history. Although she began her writing
career in the romance genre, Chloe switched gears several years ago, making the leap to
thrillers, written under the name C.M. Palov. She is excited to be returning to her romance
roots. Chloe lives and writes with a menagerie of furry family members from her home in
While that's the official bio, it doesn't convey anything
about how I create a story. Or, as we say in my neck
of the woods, how I spin a yarn. First of all, as the
caption in my photo collage so aptly states: It begins
with a dream.
Once I'm struck with the germ of an idea, the first
thing I do is hit the books (or the internet), throwing
myself into research. Truth be told, the inspiration
for some of my best scenes and plot twists have come
to me during the research phase as I totally immerse
myself in whatever world I intend to create --
whether that's the romantic chivalry of the
antebellum South or the mystery and intrigue of
Victorian London. It's also during this phase of the
writing process that I begin plotting, scribbling and
typing notes like a mad woman in a disjointed, stream
of consciousness fashion. In fact, it's not uncommon
for an entire scene of dialogue to come to me,
seemingly plucked from thin air. Then, a little while
later, inspiration might strike again, this time with a
few pages of exposition. The best way to describe this
phase of the writer's journey is that it's as though I'm
inside the story, able to see it from all directions, all at
once. However, since I'm at the center of this creative
centrifuge, I'm unable to discern the beginning,
middle, or end. That sort of linear plotting will take
place later in the process.
Once I've compiled all of my research, I take it, along
with my copious plot notes, and begin to weave
everything into a coherent story. To do that, I create a storyboard in which I detail every plot twist and character arc in every
scene in every chapter. Not only am I dyed-in-the-wool plotter, but being a visual person, I often create photo montages as
well, taken from the images that I collected during the research phase. With storyboard and photo montages completed, I can
now sift through all of my plot notes and tag everything by scene and chapter. Once all of the plot notes and research have
been correlated to the storyboard, I am now, finally, ready to commence writing the story.
And because I've already done all of my research, character development, and plotting up front, once I start the actual writing,
I'm able to focus on just that . . . writing prose. This is when I wordsmith the dialogue and exposition that earlier came to me in
a creative frenzy. This is when I take the time to find the perfect word, the perfect turn of phrase. This is when I edit a scene
once, twice, a dozen times -- however many drafts it takes to craft the words so that they ring true. While there are those who
might consider this a laborious undertaking, for me, it is nothing less than pure joy. A labor of love in its truest sense.
Then, when my story is completed, and all my yarn has been spun, I close my eyes to dream . . . and awaken to begin again.