I think one of the hardest part of writing is the actual writing. I spend a great deal of time mentally putting together my story. I want to know who my characters are before I begin actually writing.
I then have to put a face to my characters. In my process I use an outline. I outline all my main characters. What do they look like, where do they come from, etc...most importantly in those notes it tells me what kind of person my character is. Most of mine lead characters have my quirky sense of humor, quick with a response and are often sarcastic, which actually reflects me.
Then I want to know the place I am writing about. Often I wish I sold so many books I could afford to go to these places, like Mexico, Louisiana, etc... I love learning the history and meeting new people, alas I am merely a poor struggling writer so I have to do research. I want to know history, the people, the food, all the stuff that makes it authentic and real. I like to include smells, taste, and the flavor of the surroundings my characters are going to be in. I want to share what I think it would be like with my readers so that is where I have to let my imagination go nuts and really try to get that feel.
One of the hardest part of the characters is figuring out what makes mine unique. I want them to stand out. Just because Author A's dragon is green and spits fire doesn't mean mine has to. Mine can be chartreuse and spit green peas. It's in my imagination, it's my story to tell so I can make it whatever I want, right? Right! I always have the hardest time with that, believe it or not. So many times I have caught myself following the "norm" or the mainstream....I think that is where writing is the hardest. Find your uniqueness and go with it.
My next outline is what will happen. What is my start and what is my end result. The middle writes itself for me, once I begin I just go where my mind and fingers take me. I have to remember that my readers want to be taken down an unpredictable road. What will the end result be? Ok, so now that I know that time to put in motion the fact that my characters have to not only do it the hard way, figure it all out, and then they have to end with the result I want it to go with.
As I write I find that ideas occur to me as I get to certain places. How can I make this ghost fighting different from everybody else? How can I make this dragon different? What makes my unicorn/centaur/witch unique to everybody else's? Is it the look, what they do, or how they speak?
I think my point is, you have to let your imagination fly away with you. I think to be successful you have to work hard at making your book different from everyone else, because frankly, I think readers are tired of predictable they are tired of the same old stuff. Now is the time to let your imagination take off and tell you what you want to share.
In my new book "The House" I have to find a new way to fight ghosts, ghoulies, and all the ooglie booglies that are after my characters. I think those who read it will be pleasantly surprised with what I have come up with!
Until next time, I wish you happy reading and productive writing!