The question I heard a lot last month during my NaNoWriMo journey was: How do you do it--how do you write a complete novel?
Well, unfortunately there is no formula that works for every writer or heck, even for every manuscript. However, since I'm beginning a new project, I thought it would be fun (and hopefully informative) to show you what I go through with each and every book. Some stages are easy, some are as painful as giving birth...okay, so NOTHING is as painful as giving birth, but it's damn near as bad.
1. The couple featured in the book have to be married and need to add a little spice to the relationship. At the end of the book, they have to remain in a committed monogamous marriage, but guests in the bedroom are allowed to "spice" things up as long as they do not become a permanent part of the relationship.
2. The story has to include The Spice Rack, an item sold in department stores and other locations that one would buy gifts. Instead of holding actual spices, the jars have suggestions to spice up one's life. The couple has to use this item as a catalyst for change.
This is a little bit different way to come up with a story line because the starting point has already been decided for me. Usually ideas will just hit me out of the blue and then it's up to me to figure out the specifics. For this one, I had to brainstorm a little. I thought--married couple, spices, bored with themselves and their lives--and instantly thought of travel. Literally sampling different spices from various regions of the world. From there it wasn't hard to come up with a couple who have retired early, are financially well off, but--due to their pursuit of a comfortable life--never indulged in the travel to exotic places they planned to as young lovers. So, how to make this romantic and erotic? While they're sampling the local cuisine, they'll also sample the sexual culture of the location as well.
After this initial concept, the outline wrote itself, but that's spilling over into the next blog entry: The Outline. Love it or hate it, it's a useful tool, even if you only make broad strokes to guide your journey.