Happy New Year!
I just completed two thousand words on my newest project and someone asked me where I start with my books. I didn't think I had a set formula, but after some thought, I guess I do.
I have no idea how other authors begin the long journey of crafting new story. What a monumental task! For me, I begin with an idea for a good conflict. After all, what doesn't kill us makes us stronger, so I try and think of something for our romantic couple to overcome. I need a good external conflict and personal/emotional ones too. This can be challenging because I'm pretty sure every angle had been covered already so I have to figure out how to make it my own. (This is where sarcastic humor comes into play You have to go with your strengths, and let's face it. I'm a smart ass.)
Next, I try and discover the personality traits for our hero and heroine and how will those traits compliment each other and will those traits work well to overcome the conflict. Then, I tackle the conflicts in such a way that I think go hand in hand with those traits. And, for me, romance must be honorable, they can have all the heated premarital loving they want but in the end, the dude better put a ring on it or at least a promise of Happily Ever-After.
It's not as hard as it sounds, the hard part is making it believable, having a good flow to the story and making sure the reader will fall in love.
Now I sit at my laptop just as if it were a canvas. It's time to paint the picture. A little bit of this and that and not too much grey. It's exciting and scary at the same time. If your first chapter doesn't make you crazy with excitement, stop right there and re-evaluate. Remember, readers love a good hook, its what makes a person decide that they simply can't live without knowing what will happen next. So sharpen your pencils and your opening lines.
Good luck this year to all of us with blank canvases. I hope 2015 brings about much success.
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