In the last post, we talked about you writing the book you’ve always imagined existed inside you. And I was helping you by telling you my process. How I start to think about a story and plot it out.
Here’s more about the process to help you get started.
In the Holiday Heartwarmers trilogy, I had planned three novellas. I wrote them all as separate books because I didn’t want the readers to feel trapped into having to read anything in order. Each story needed to be a standalone.
That’s all well and good but… as I mentioned before, that meant three different sets of characters and three distinct plot lines. The only setting point I had to stick with was the place. Three puppies from one litter had to be abandoned together, right? Otherwise, it wouldn’t have made sense. So I created a fictional town in the state of Washington and called it Carlton Grove.
Once the name came to me, it just made sense to have the first hero be a Carlton. Dammed if he didn’t have an older brother show up who kinda got to me and so I resurrected him for the third story. See, even though I started out not wanting to tie in any set of family members - rather use the puppies as the thread through each story - somehow it ended up happening anyway. All good plans…blah, blah, blah!
But this second story called Snow Pup wasn’t about a member of the Carlton family. Instead, I imagined a young boy living with foster parents from hell and had him running away to escape his misery. To bring in the second puppy, it just seemed logical to have the animal stumble on to the boy and refuse to leave him. Could be the dog sensed the same fear of being unloved in the human that he’d experienced at the hands of his miserable master. Anyway, I played on that idea and though the boy refused to have anything to do with the mutt at the beginning, it all came together by the end.
Once I’d imagined this setup, the story began to write itself and all I did was make sure the words were effective in describing the scenario.
Many authors will tell you that all you need is that germ of an idea, plant it in fertile soil and let it grow. And if you don’t absorb anything else from this blog, know this.
If you don’t try and force your ideas or you characters, into illogical situations so that you end up so far out there that you have no hope of getting back, many times a story will take shape almost by itself and you’ll sit back and wonder where the hell it came from.
That’s the fun part of being a writer.
On my next blog… how to find the end.