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April 2019: What Comes First
~ Deirdre O’Dare ~

CTR asked:

Which comes first when you start a new story? The title? The characters’ names? The plot? Explain your starting process and what you need before you can write the first words.

Deirdre O’Dare said:

My stories start in one of two ways. Often a character will emerge from the shadowed recesses in a short vignette or mini-scene which gets me intrigued enough I want to learn all about him or her and what came before and after that brief glimpse. From that point on, this character starts to tell me his or her story. Since I write romance. it is typical for a second character to appear soon and want to have a say also. Often at that point I can visualize no way for these two to become a bonded couple. They may even deny that chance fiercely because they are not there yet!

That’s when the fun starts. Of course I have to harangue them at times and make them stick to “the truth” and not leave out anything critical. Quite often they will surprise me with a sudden curve ball out of far left field but that’s part of the fun! The main reason I hate synopses and outlines is because such processes take all the suspense out of it, the wait-to-see-what-happens-next which keeps me writing just as when I am reading another author’s well crafted tale.

Then, there is another method. I am a lifelong word player–I enjoy puns an double entendre and am known for silly doggerel verses using both. So in this mode, I first discover a title, usually just playing with a few words or a phrase or even just one word that morphs into another. For example, I am driving back from taking my car to the mechanic and the phrase “Body Shop” flashes by on a sign. Suddenly Body Shop becomes Bawdy Shop and a swarm of possible applications crowd my thoughts. A sex toy emporium? A massage parlor or a strip club? That one has not been written yet but it will be, possibly even a series of tales centered around this thus-far undefined emporium. Such fun possibilities!

Or perhaps I am reading the news, watching TV or listening to a song and a word or a phrase catches my interest. Bounty Hunter… okay, let’s flip this to Hunter’s Bounty where I start to see a man, recently back from military with a dog who has adopted him. A friend wants to hire them to help in a bail jumper tacking business. What does our hero end up tracking and what is the bounty he might receive? That one is started but far from complete yet, although I am already very fond of the dog and intrigued by its master.

Neither method is perhaps really orthodox but I am such a panster plot-wise and also a ‘who needs a freaking box?’ type of author so they both work for me. At times I think some very weird evil twin, alter-ego or otherworldly demon shares my head with me and s/he is the source of all these flights of fancy!


Catastrophe by Deirdre O'Dare cover


[Gay Erotic Urban Fantasy Shifter Romance]

Although veterinary technician Carlton is violently allergic to cats, he loves them with an undying passion, enough to tolerate miserable symptoms to keep working with the felines in the San Maribal Zoo. The cheetahs especially fascinate him. Then he meets a mysterious stranger who is evasive about why he’s in the zoo — nude and after hours! This man tells Carl there’s a cat inside him wanting to get out. That sounds really crazy, and the suggested way to make it happen even crazier … but exciting.

Zyl is a member of the ancient shifter tribe, or Were-Kind. His people are working to enforce humane treatment of animals and save endangered species. Hearing of a planned raid by an extreme animal rights group to free the denizens of zoos, they realize this will a real catastrophe. Joining forces with regular humans to avert the problem will mean “coming out” as the powerful beings they are. Again, a potential disaster.

Attracted to Carlton against his better judgment, Zyl teams up with the vet tech he meets under awkward circumstances only to discover a valuable ally and a soul mate.

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