Story Development 101: Peek Under My Hood (post by Anna)
When it comes to crafting fiction, each author has a different method—and I’m about to let you peek under my hood to see how my creative engine works by examining three key areas. Ready…set…go!
Characters. These generally come first for me, because without good characters, even a great plot can fall flat. I have to love my hero and heroine. Often, I have a fully fleshed-out hero long before my vision of the heroine gels. For Dangerous in a Kilt, I understood Lachlan—from his painful secrets to his intense sensuality and his wicked sense of humor—long before I devised Erica’s personality. Her spunky, mouthy ways became the counterpoint to his reticence.
Plot. This nearly always is borne out of the characters and, of course, the type of story I’m writing. I had the title for Dangerous in a Kilt before the full plot emerged from my brain, and the title inspired the storyline. I wrote the first scene—in which Erica and Lachlan meet—before I knew what the rest of the book would be. That scene was inspired by a pop song called “Mr. Mysterious,” performed by the awesome Aussie singer Vanessa Amorosi. (Check it out in my playlist for the book here.) I molded this story out of my desire to write a scorching-hot romance filled with humor and powerful emotion. The actual events of the plot came together based on all of the above.
Love scenes. Here’s my dirty little secret. I LOVE WRITING HOT SEX! Yes, I’ve said it before and I say it again. I dream up numerous love scenes for each book but only use a handful of them. For me, the love scenes—no matter the book’s heat level—must be more than just hot sex. They need to mean something to the story and/or the characters. For Erica and Lachlan, sex starts out as pure, carnal fun but slowly turns into the one way they can bond and express their true feelings in spite of their “nothing personal” agreement.
A lot more goes into any book than these three elements, but for my books, these are the key points. If I get these right, my creative engine will be revved up and ready to roll!
Readers and writers alike, what story elements matter to you?