April 2019: What Comes First
~ Tricia Schneider ~
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.
Tricia Schneider said:
Each of my stories are created in a few different ways. Sometimes I’ll have a character and the story grows from there. The Pirate’s Lady began with Arianne standing on a beach at night staring into the ocean when someone unseen approaches her from behind. For others, it’s a line of dialogue that begins the process. In The Witch and the Wolf, Lord Jeremy North’s first lines of dialogue popped into my head before anything else.
Many of my stories are grown from seeds that were created from my dreams. I often have vivid dreams which I write in a dream journal as soon as I wake. I get ideas for stories from the images or scenes that take place in my dreams. I have two upcoming books that began as dreams.
First, I’ll write down everything that I know about the story that I’m working on whether it’s the character or the events that occurred in my dream. After that, I’ll brainstorm to fill in some of the blanks. At this point, if I don’t already have it, I’ll figure out all the character names and their problems or issues. I’ll create a few brief notes on scenes or events that take place in the story. And if I’m lucky, I’ll have an idea of the ending.
Since I work as a combination of panster and plotter, my stories don’t have all the pieces when I begin to write. It comes together as I go, like putting together a complicated puzzle. There are some books where the ending took me by complete surprise, as in Cupid’s Arrow, my short story in A Wink and a Smile.
The title is the last thing I work on. I’ll begin writing the story before I even have a title. Typically, I’ll give it a working title. Maybe something with a little description like Zombie-Dream-Story or something as simple as Untitled-Regency. Often I finish the story completely before I find a title for it. For me, titles are the most difficult part of the writing process, so I’ll save those for last.
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