When this comes to finding characters for my stories, I usually don’t have a problem. I think about an idea for someone, and then look at what events in their culture or childhood have shaped them the way they are. Then I ask what their wants and needs are at the start of the story and how I can make it difficult for them to achieve what they desire.
Every writer has their process, their way of getting from an idea in their head to words on a page. The first draft is one of the biggest milestones in the publishing process and I wanted to share how I got to the first draft of book three in the Kinloch series.
I love meeting new people because I want to find out what their stories are, what brought them to this exact moment. I’m the person you don’t want to sit next to on a plane as I want you to lay your life and your soul out for my delectation. The more different your experiences are to mine, the more I want to gobble them up.
You know your characters, you love them, and then they turn their backs on you and give you the cold shoulder. Suddenly you no longer know what they’re going to say or do. Writer’s block is where you simply don’t know what is coming next in your story or how to get around a problem. So what to do? How can you get over writer’s block?
My writing career is a long road strewn with abandoned cars, bicycles, and the odd scooter. I was the queen of starting and then never finishing a piece of work, coming up with great ideas, only to abandon them. In terms of Belbin team roles, I’m a Resource Investigator, not a Completer Finisher.
Why do I write romance novels? Why do I write love stories that make you laugh and leave a smile on your face? Because I reject the reality fed to us by the mainstream media and substitute my own. I used to consume the news many times a day. I would wake up in the morning and check online for what had happened whilst I slept. I would listen on the radio in the car whilst driving, and then watch it later on the television.
In the writing world, people often like to describe themselves as a ‘planner’ or a ‘pantser’. Are you someone who carefully plots their stories, writes pages of notes about the backstory of their characters, and only writes the first word when you know how each scene will play out? Or are you a pantser, the kind of person who wakes up from an awesome dream about a dinosaur having sex with a werewolf in space and decides to write about it, without any clue as to how or when it will end?
Once I have an idea, and the bit between my teeth, getting words on the page is often easy. They aren’t necessarily the right words or even in the right order, but they are there. Writing too many words is a far better place to be than not writing enough, as cutting your work down creates a better draft. Having to add fluff just to up a word count is rarely going to end well.
I read a lot about the phrase ‘writing to market’ in the author community. The idea is to identify a reader group, for example people who want sweet and clean Billionaire romances, or YA (young adult) urban fantasies, and then write books targeting those markets. It makes business sense - find the market and then supply them with the product they demand.
If you want to write then just do it. You don’t need an English literature degree or a diploma in creative writing. There are many professional writers who have never taken a writing course in their life. Many flunked school or never had any support. Anna Todd started writing on her phone in the checkout queue at a supermarket. She was a 24 year old new mum, and worked to bring money by babysitting and working at a beauty counter. She’s now a millionaire.