Two of my favorite questions to ask an author when I get a chance is 1) Do you have a specific routine or process to your writing and/or what does your writing space look like? and 2) What advice do you have for wannabe writers out there? Everyone’s writing process is different and I just love to get an idea for how each author gets their inspiration for their books and more so, once they have their idea for the “Great American Novel”, what comes next?
The answers I’ve received and seen on other web sites’ interviews have been so varied. I’ve heard everything from “write what you know” to “my ideas for my book came to me in a vision in a dream one night”. Personally, I like to draw inspiration from other novels. One, it gives me an idea for what has b4en done and what hasn’t. Two, it gives me an idea for what sells and garners interest from the general arena of readers. Three, it allows me to justify long hours of “research” (a.k.a. reading).
Another tactic I use is to outline. I like to write a general outline for my work in progress (WIP) before I put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard). As I’m writing, I fill in the outline with more details so that I don’t forget what has already been included in the novel so far and what’s left to be added at a later point. In a similar way, I create character sketches. I love to create consistent characters by using a specific theme, background or pattern of personality. For example, in my current WIP I have been using the Zodiac Calendar and its definitions to illustrate my main character and her two besties. Olivia (the main character) is a Leo, born in late July. Her zest for love has her constantly trying new things. She can’t live without her friends and she loves an audience. Emily, her bff from college, is driven just like the Ram, Aries. She is super independent, confident and a natural leader. Ruby, on the other hand, while she, too, is very driven by her passions, is a little more right brained than Emily, often inclined to more of the arts. She is a lover and a very loyal friend, a true Scorpio through and through. This is just one example for how you can use various resources to influence your story and its characters. You could investigate their deep-rooted fears, citing their Freudian tendencies. You could look at personality types, A, B and C. You could base your characters on their family roles (i.e. the scapegoat, the leader, the hero or the mascot. What I love about writing and fiction is that your options and resources are essentially limitless.