Many people wonder where I get my ideas for my stories. How do the characters come to life? Am I a pantster, or do I carefully outline and plot each book accordingly? How do I know when to quit and end the story?
I'll take these questions in order.
1. I have no freaking clue where these ideas come from.
That's the god's honest truth. I can be waiting in line at a coffehouse, see an old man whisper to his lovely companion, and boom! I'm wondering how they came to meet. And when I'm not bold enough to ask, I weave a story from my imagination.
Also, my creativity is sparked by other authors and artists. We can start discussing a topic, and the next thing you know, we're all plotting out some outrageous story while laughing like loons. That's the simple fact of the matter.
2. Characters live in my head 24/7.
There's no real respite from the people living in my brain. Am I crazy? Perhaps. But all day, my mind is alight with scenarios and what type of people would respond in each instance. These flights of fancy are how my characters actually come to life. Because I write romance, a scene usually starts with a man and a woman. It progresses to dialogue, and from there, plays out to become a whole chapter. Next thing you know, I have three chapters of a new novel written. If the scene plays out and can fit into a current work-in-progress, then I use it. Otherwise, it becomes a whole new storyline.
3. I'm a total pantster.
What is a pantster, you ask? I'll be happy to tell you. A pantster is an author who writes by the seat of their pants, making things up as they go along. No outline. No schedule. They sit down and type out whatever pops into their mind. If a plot twist occurs, a plot twist is added. Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!
As a pantster, I get irritated with myself because I don't have a more disciplined approach. But then, I receive feedback from readers, telling me how much they love my plot twists, and I have to admit, it's a heady sensation.
4. When I'm bored.
Bottom line is, when I get bored with the story I'm writing, I move on. About 70,000 words are my absolute max, or I'm dying inside. Novellas are quick and fun to whip up, but I have a more accomplished feeling by creating a full-length novel. So if we're actually counting here, about 55,000 words would be my sweet spot. Anything more, and I am fighting to continue on. Anything less, I feel as if I didn't do the story justice. But sometimes, I get the shorter ones right, and I'm a happy camper. I'm very similar to Tom Hanks in the movie Castaway. I dance around, lift my hands, and look for anyone to see proof of my awesomeness. My dog Tink is never impressed. She only cares about playing ball. Writing is evil, as it takes her mom away from paying attention to her all day.
And on that note, I'll bring this little blog entry to a close. But not before I add a photo of my adorable beastie. This is Tink as my co-captain, during a kayak excursion on the local lake. "There are geese out there, Mama! Let's get 'em!"