Tuesday, January 26
Process? There's a Process?
I always start with characters, too--very possibly one of hundreds of reasons why Liz and I are kindred spirits. Our stories start with people. We invent stories for the people in our heads, not people for the stories. Does that make sense? Unlike Liz, I do hear the characters talking to me, which probably means that I'm more likely to need therapy at some point than she is.
The stories always start with a conversation--maybe not between the heroine and the hero, sometimes between the hero and a secondary character or between the heroine and her best friend. And that conversation sets up the story, establishes where we are--small town, big city, usually never on a farm, but always, always near a lake.
I don't do synopses for my books, but once the conversation begins, I do character studies that list each character; their physical traits (which can change); their names (which also can change, i.e., Henry Dugan in The Summer of Second Chances was originally named Ben, but I couldn't feel the geek, so I changed his name and his freak flag began to fly!); as well as any little peculiarities they may have. I also do a timeline, which helps me keep events straight as the story unfolds.
So, there we have it. The notes do eventually become a story or they get put away to be part of another story. I never toss them, they're in a folder in my desk because you never know when the exact right word or phrase or idea for any story at all will be in there.
Quick promo note--I'm asking all the Wranglers out there to hold a good thought--my BookBub promotion is up today in the UK, Canada, and India. I'm hoping to expand my foreign sales, so this one is a biggie. Let's hope the folks across the pond and up north are curious enough about the Women of Willow Bay to buy some books! Thanks for all the good energy!