Many authors lay out a plotline about the book they are writing and know before they put the first word on the page what the ending is. I am probably part of the minority who has no idea what direction my book is going to go. When I write, I sit down and live through the characters. My readers are also on my mind when I write. Do they want suspense throughout the story, or do they want things to run like a fairy tale?
We all know romance can not always be a fairy tale without any bumps and bruises for the characters. The only way the characters can grow individually or grow as a couple is if they experience turmoil or changes in their world. We, as individuals, living in real-life, experience problems, and get stronger as we handle and learn how strong we indeed are. Why would the characters in a book not experience the same thing?
Each time I work on one of my books, I think about where my character is and where do I want them to go today. Do I pull from real-life scenarios or things I have learned? Sure, I do. Other times I draw from the creative side of my brain. Who is my character, and would she do this, or how would she handle a situation when she is already stressed? To be an author is not an easy thing; it is a creative thing.
Also, when I write about my characters, I bring things into the story that my readers can relate to, or maybe it is a piece of jewelry they can purchase online or something like it. In The Silver Heart, it was a Montana Silversmiths silver heart necklace. In Smoky Mountain Romance, it is a song by Craig J. Martin, which the readers can download and listen to while they are reading the book. It is something my readers can experience or share with the book. In my next book, I have several things…but that I am going to keep secret at this time. I can’t tell everything going on.
The most important idea I can give you as a writer is to keep a notebook next to you, and every time you write down a new character in the book, write it down. Give the name of the character, what do they look like, who they are married to, how many kids do they have, how do they play into the story, and anything else you can write down. This notebook will make it easier as you write and bring those characters back into the storyline. Since I am writing a sequel, I have used my notebook several times to bring the characters from Smoky Mountain Romance into the new book. I have it next to my computer at all times, so I have a reference. Are we perfect as authors? No. We try our best, and from there, our readers need to remember this romance is fictional. It has nothing to do with reality.