It interesting to me that many writers plan their work; they write outlines, develop complex plot strategies and spend months creating characters before writing page 1. That’s amazing to me. Admirable self-restraint and long range planning! Me, I sit down and type and as I create the characters they write the story. For example, before I wrote Relentless, I had a completely different plot in mind. I was going to write a completely different story. It started, well the first 10 words anyway, started with a former patient in mind, a young woman whose tragic life experiences begged to be told. However, my intent was thwarted before the first page was completed. The second character made an appearance and changed the direction, intent and passion of the story. This character instantly became bigger than life and the story configured itself around his personality structure, history, desires and needs. He, along with the other characters who evolved to play interesting, captivating and important roles emerged whole out of my imagination and out of hard earned understanding of human behavior.
Once history, personality and interpersonal characteristics were in place the characters wrote their own scripts. I wrote what I knew they would do based on who they were and once in place the characters played in a theater of ‘their own creation.’ Odd as it may seem being open to the characters and the plots they devised allowed me the freedom to simply create what came to mind trusting that whatever it was would lead to the outcome that was right for these characters and their plot. On occasion, ‘being open to the universe’ also led to other startling discoveries. On several occasions, for example, I chose a location where something was to take place only to learn after the fact that indeed it had taken place there!