Just as the moment I'm sharpening the my writing pencil - okay, pen - for the start of a new book. While I write straight to my computer these days, I still feel the need for a notebook and a good pen when I'm brain storming. That way I can fly off in whatever direction I want, unconstrained by the "enter" key. A list just doesn't work in the same way as a plot spider.
After a couple of really difficult books, during which I was too distracted by outside goings on (ie, selling and moving house) to concentrate on plotting, I've decided that flying into the mist is just too much hard work and I need to plot like a grown up.
I've done it before. I had a plot when I wrote The Sheikh's Unsuitable Bride and that worked, brilliantly. And I had one when I wrote Reunited: Marriage in a Million, because I was writing it as a trilogy with Barbara Hannay and Jackie Braun and we were assigned an editor who had never worked with me before - and we all needed to know what was going on. I didn't stick very closely to my original plan, to be honest, but a plot is not a straightjacket, it's a road. The department point is known, the destination is clear, but sometimes the satnav takes you on the scenic route.
- Who are these characters who've turned up in my head?
- What is the driving ambition that keeps them focussed on the future? What do they have to prove?
- Why are they at this point in their lives?
- What is going to happen to bring them together?
- Why is he the last person in the world she should fall in love with?
- Why, when she is the opposite of everything his world represents, does he keep coming back?
- What fear will keep them from making a commitment?