By Starla Kaye
Where do you start when you’re thinking up a new story to write? For me it’s a matter of reining in my too wild imagination. I never have a shortage of story ideas. What I suffer from is wanting to write them all at the same time. I’m always working on new stories for my various publishers and I’ve learned how to keep my story types different for each one.
At the moment I’ve got a new story for The Edge series contracted and in editing, Acceptance. And I’m working on two other stories: a sequel for The CEO and The Cowboy and a story for the Challenge series. But I’ve wanted to write another story for the 1 Night Stand series as well. That is the one I’m most actively working on at the moment.
I’ve discussed in other blogs my basic writing process from A (very beginning) to Z (submission). This time I want to share a few more details about how I come up with a new story for a specific publisher’s line.
Okay, first I look at the guidelines for the series, mainly to see if there have been any changes from the last time I wrote for the line. I have previous books in the 1 Night Stand series (Maggie’s Secret Wish and Starting Over). So I have a basic idea of how the line works and I read a number of stories in the line to keep up with what is working in it.
Next I come up with my title, which guides me to what kind of characters I will use and a tie-in with a certain setting. This new 1NS story’s title doesn’t really reflect the setting, but it does hint about certain elements. Cowboy Dreamin’ is about a heroine and her fantasy longing for the white-hatted cowboy to ride into her life and sweep her off into the sunset for a HEA, although that isn’t what she wants in reality. The hero, of course, has to be a cowboy. But I’m using two cowboys, all the better to fulfill her fantasy, right?
After I know what my series line needs to revolve around and have my title, then I focus on creating the necessary main characters. For this story I wanted a heroine who is crazy stressed, has no time for serious romance, but dreams of romance and a special man to at least burn up the sheets temporarily…enough to let her endure her hectic and unromantic daily life. Kendra Barlow with her purplish-brown hair, enthusiastic personality, and out-of-control schedule came to my mind. She begged me to tell her story, find her someone who can give her at least one night of escape from her crazy life and give her something to remember.
Since I, too, have a secret love for cowboys, I wanted to help her out. Except I didn’t find one such man, I found two very special cowboys lurking in my mind’s treasure trove of possible heroes. They are ranching partners, friends, and, yes, even occasional lovers. Shane Carter and Carson Donnely both need some tender loving from a unique and hard to resist woman like Kendra.
After I know my story title and characters’ names, it is time to begin learning more details about the characters. I don’t do a lot of background build-up, but some. I need to have an idea of part of their background/history to understand their needs, wishes, etc. And it is good to have a hint at their previous relationships. Most of this stuff I learn as I start writing the story and they reveal these things to me. I keep an ongoing Story Basics list that I pull whatever I’ve learned in the actual story to, so I am continually discovering exactly “who” each of these people are.
That’s it…that’s all I’m sharing in my writing process. Each writer works differently and I love learning about what works for this person, what for that one, and what is a “tried and waste of time” thing. Believe me, I have plenty of those.
I love doing contests and giving away one of the many little fun items I collect over the year especially for this opportunity. Leave a comment about your favorite Decadent series to write for or to read. Or comment about a story line or series that you would like to see in Decadent’s house. One randomly chosen winner will win a fun gift I found in San Antonio: Texas Bandana and 33 Ways to use It (complete with a bandana). The contest ends April 14.