Behind the Books: Practice makes Process!
Each book starts as a vague idea. “I want to write about triplets.” (Three Brothers Fair series) “I want to write about LGBTQ werewolves.” (A Pack of His Own series) But the idea can only carry me as far as, say, I can throw a baseball. After the idea comes the outline.
Now, most of the romance writers I know are pantsers. That is, they create and invent by the seat of their pants. I’m a plotter and a filler-iner. I like to set the basics—and for me that includes some dialogue—down and then paint-by-number my way through the writing of the story. This technique allows me to write no matter what mood I’m in; I don’t have to wait for inspiration to strike. Being a plotter also lets me have little secrets that pop out. For example, during my writing of A Pack of His Own: Hunter’s Claim, I had no idea how important Ethan Warner would become despite my outline.
Here’s what a typical outline looks like:
Chapter #, scene # POV: (point of view, usually of one of my two main characters)
Setting: time, place, people involved
G: (goal) what the character hopes to accomplish during this scene
M: (motivation) why the character hopes to accomplish it
C: (conflict) why the character can’t achieve his goal or why the goal is frustrated
WH: (what happens) Often the above information lays out an entire scene. When it doesn’t, I put in exactly what happens during the scene to further the character’s goal or frustrate it.
Notes: These are for me, as an author, outside the realm of the story. Examples include: things that need to be translated later (I often insert foreign names for my amusement), what the other characters are thinking during the scene so that their reactions will be authentic later, and so on.
If you’re a writer, what do *you* do after the first idea comes? If you’re not a writer, which way do you think would be more exciting and why?
Hi, I’m Emily Rae Carrington. I’ve been writing gay erotic romance since 2004. I currently live in an alternative universe populated by book characters, but my Labrador and her kitten are still here. (The kitten is named for my favorite FBI agent of all time, and once I beg permission from the writer who brought that agent to life, I will post the kitten’s name here.) I attended my first Romance Writers of America conference in 2007, met the chief editor from Loose Id, Llc, was inspired by an impromptu visit with Suzanne Brockmann, and the rest is a bit of queer history.
Look for my first three novels in the SearchLight series at www.loose-id.com. I think you’ll enjoy meeting Mark and his genie lover, Luke, as much as I did! Also, in a little town in a state that shall not be named, there’s a man struggling to find his sexual identity. He has help, and a possible lover, but first he must face the person who molested him as a child. Heartwood and its sequel, Black Mahogany, are now available at Loose Id, LLC.