People often ask me where the ideas come from for my novels. Some days they just seem to drop into my lap. I usually have more plot ideas than I will ever be able to use.
For example, take the plot for my second published novel, The Queen’s Pawn. I can’t remember how it first began, but for some reason I was thinking about the fall of Troy. I might have recently read a book or saw a documentary. I started thinking about how it would feel to be trapped in a burning city that has fallen to the enemy. It would be quite unpleasant. I decided to write a story based around that opening. I needed a main character, so I came up with a poor seminary student in a panic with chaos all around him. What happens next?
He flees, of course. By this time I suspected I might be about to treat the topic lightly. Who does he meet? How about a dying prince, a wizard, and the usual opportunity for the old mistaken identity theme, with a twist? So what will I do with these characters? Let’s rescue the beautiful queen of the city, and give her a bratty daughter to drive my hero mad. Let’s make him an inept hero that gets by more through luck than skill. To torture him further, let’s throw a lot of lustful females in his way, and have him with no idea of what to do about them.
The plot then, hero reluctantly has to rescue the royal family from a burning city and get them to safety a long way away. And I’m off to the races with no idea of who the villains are, why the city is burning, or a reason the princess acts the way she does. Backstories fill in as I go along and get to know the characters better.
One character who surprised me was the queen. When I first met her I thought she was a bit dizzy, she soon set me straight. I like surprises when I’m writing. Which just goes to show why my writing style is “pantser” (I write by the seat of my pants) as opposed to “plotter” (or plodder?) where you must lay out every minute detail before you can begin writing the tale.
The bottom line is, you write the way that works best for you. I notice when I got into writing a second and third book for each of my first two novels, I had to do a wee bit of plotting to make sure I would end up where I thought I was going.
The second volume in the Queen’s Pawn Trilogy (I didn’t realize I was writing one) is in editing now, still without a title, and the third (and final?) tale in the series is about ¾ finished and at least I know what the ending will be.
Have fun writing, or reading, and don’t be afraid to reach outside of your normal comfort zone.
The Dark Lady Trilogy (Volume 1,2,3)The Queen’s Pawn (Volume 1)
The Housetrap Chronicles (Volume 1 to 7)
Alex in Wanderland,