Sometimes inspiration begins from the silliest places or in the quietest of moments marking the beginning of an irresistible, unforgettable love story. Have you ever been somewhere and when you least expect it, an idea pops into your head? Maybe see something or someone in a situation causing an array of ideas like a flashing neon sign. No matter what you’re in the middle of, the world stops for you to grab something out of your purse to jot down the idea so you won’t forget. I’m guilty of all the above and scribbled on old receipts, the back of bank deposit slips, junk mail and when all else fails the back of my hand. Thankfully I found the note app on my phone so I can stay a little better organized.
Inspiration lit a fire and the fun (ahem), I mean work begins.
Where do you go from there? Do you keep the plot going without having a visual of the character? I have to get an idea of who they look like, before I can help them behave and misbehave. I can’t be happy with them, cry with them or chastise them if I don’t have a visual. The internet provides a wealth of resources, but I also use Pinterest among others. . .magazines, commercials and sometimes people watching. No, I haven’t gone up to anyone and asked to take a picture. Although, not because I haven’t thought about it. Have you ever been in the mall and some piece of eye candy is in the men’s department shopping for a new pair of shoes. . .and you itch to take a picture because he’s the perfect guy for your character. My daughter is usually with me shopping and she would probably disown me, LOL!
Whenever you find inspiration, embrace it. Brand it and make it yours.
I love angst, an emotional roller coaster ride and make my characters go through hell before they find their happiness. I sometimes wonder what draws me to the gut wrenching scenes. Being an avid reader, I love when a book makes me laugh, drains me emotionally and makes me squee when they overcome whatever impossible hurdle stood in the way. . .That make’s an unforgettable romance for me.
When in the madness do you name your characters? When I hear one I like, I add it to a list (yes, I keep a list of names. . .don’t judge me). Once my idea takes off, I pull my file and see if I have a name on my list that compliments my MMC or FMC. What’s in a name? A lot. It possess characteristics representing being strong, alpha, sweet, sassy, or bad-ass. This is one of my favorite stages of branding my story.
Sometimes I outline my plot, but it’s always subject to change. I’m more of a fly by the seat of my pants gal. In my current WIP, Crazy Beautiful Lies, I’m having the time of my life bringing my characters to life. I knew from the beginning how it was going to start and end, but all the in between comes to life as I type. Oh, I outlined it alright, but changed every single subtitle along the way.
This brings me to my next question, do you title each chapter? I love them. I think it adds a little extra.
Thanks for reading and hope you enjoyed my style of writing tips. . . It’s the way I brand my story as my own.
Kathryn L. James (KJ)