Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Burning Question


How do you decide what to write next? And do you ever fall in love with characters and find it hard to let them go?

7 comments:

Betina Krahn said...

For me, it's all in the gut. Pure instinct. Meaning, I just go with the one that excites me the most at the time. Usually, I've done research and worked up various ideas as I go along, so it's a matter of deciding which I'm infatuated with at the moment.

Not an especially reliable process, I have to say.
Occasionally I get pulled onto a non-productive path. The key is, do I know how it will end? Do I have an arc that takes me all the way through to a satisfying finale? I've learned the hard way that if I can't see the goal (the end) occasionally from the start, I'm probably going to have problems.

:) Betina

scrapperjen said...

My ideas come to me at weird times and places. I'll see or hear something and the idea festers. I have never fallen in love with a character, yet....

vodka and cigarettes said...

"Do I have an arc that takes me all the way through to a satisfying finale? I've learned the hard way that if I can't see the goal (the end) occasionally from the start, I'm probably going to have problems."

That's fantastic advice.

Betina Krahn said...

Thanks, V&C. Didn't really mean it as advice, just my own hard-won insight into what works for me. But if it helps. . .

And as for falling in love with characters. . . I more adopt them than fall in love with them. Occasionally I find myself so into a pair and so enthralled with how real they've become to me that it IS hard to move on right away to another set of characters, another book. Then I just put my head down and plow ahead until I fall into the created reality of the next story. It always comes. It just takes patience.

;) Betina

Debra Dixon said...

Ideas spring from everywhere, but deciding which ones are more than just a lovely idea is the hard part.

I start by exploring the characters and looking for that journey or arc that can bend/bow/break/rebuild my characters. There has to be some tension in the idea.

Currently I do really like my continuing character in the Mossy Creek series. I'm fortunate enough to have created the police chief who's in a bit of a pickle over his feelings for the lovely town mayor who's older than he is. He's fun to write. Fans seem to love him. So, revisiting him again and again as the series progresses has been fun.

Candace said...

I usually have serveral ideas in various stages of "fermentation" and, like Betina, I go with the one that pulls at me the most, for whatever reason. Usually, it turns out to be the very one that is the most developed (if only in my mind) at that time. That is, I know pretty much where it's going. Or, at least, the general direction.

I've never fallen in love with a character to the point that it was hard to let him or her go at the end of a story. Quite the contrary, actually. Usually about three-quarters of the way through a book I want to write something like, "They knew they shouldn't have flown in such lousy weather, and they were right. The plane crashed. Everyone died. The End."

I did have a secondary character fans fell in love with, though. To me, he was a plot device to make the hero of the current book jealous; I never expected to write about him again. But fans actually wrote to ask what happened to him and my then-editor suggested I write his story. And, thus, The Cowboy Way came into being.

Anonymous said...

I didn't have a choice with my last publishing house. My editor pretty much dictated what the books should be about and how they should be plotted. The characters were mine, but I had to write her story or not write a story at all. My own plot? What a refeshing idea.