A novel is born with an idea, I think. It could be just one sentence that sparks the muse, a song or something someone says. You can get this whole idea in a burst of inspiration or just one scene.
The creative side of things is different for everyone and for me it usually starts with an idea and general plot. Then I do a scene between two characters. Always the main character with a secondary character or a love interest or alone. The story usually spins out from there. I don't plot it all out. I don't outline.
Just so you can see what it's like, here's the first scene I've written for my next project.
“My parents are Wiccan. You know, the whole blessed be, love, peace, and things come back threefold crap.”
What was I supposed to say to that? I settled with a, “Oh?”
“Yep. They worship tree gods.” Season’s eyes rolled. “Once my mom found this ‘Return Lost Things’ spell on the Internet and decided she wanted to try to find missing socks with it. She ran around the house chanting with incense that smelled like butt, windows and doors open. It was Labor Day. Lots of people in their yards watching, eating hot dogs. It was as awkward as it sounds.”
I didn’t know if I should laugh or feel sorry for her, but before I could decide, Evie strolled by, flipping that impossibly glossy hair that reminded me of a Pantene commercial.
“Freak,” Evie cast over her shoulder at Season.
Season stuck up her middle finger. “Blessed be that, bitch.”
I laughed. Almost snorted, too, and at that point, I was pretty sure Season and I would get along famously.
Even if this scene doesn't make the final cut, writing this scene help me get the feel of both characters. I know that Season comes from an eccentric family and even though she makes fun of it, she's sort of proud of it by how she responds to Evie. I know that my main MC is kind by not automatically thinking what Evie says and that she likes that spunky side. So it's a good exercise.
Typically what I'd do from this point is open up another Word and type "Chapter 1" and then it would be on like donkey kong with the story. That's it. No other preparation. No planning. Research only if I need to. That's my typical writing process.
I'm going to try something different this time. I'm going to outline, complete with character profiles. Dear God, help me. Not sure how this will go. I usually get impatient and just want to write the darn story already, but I like the idea of having an outline in case I get stuck. I am usually super jealous of those who have like 100 page synopsis.
So tell me what you're writing process is like. Oh, and wish me luck with the outline.