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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

How do authors come up with storylines?

How do we as authors come up with our storylines. I, personally, can find a storyline in almost anything. A song, watching people in an airport, a dream or even seeing a couple walking hand in hand in a park. How did they meet? Was it love at first sight? Did their eyes meet across a room and they just knew there was something special there? Was theirs a long courthship or a quick 'I love you'. For those that don't know, I'm a panster. A panster is a writer who writes by the seat of their pants. Doesn't plot it out, just let's it write itself, so to speak. My characters tell me their story and I write it down. A lot of the time, I don't know where the story is going to go until I get there myself. They have a tendency to throw surprises at me, too.

I'm sure many of you have read some of my stories and I know I have a thing for cowboys. It's a given. I know. Big surprise, right? I love a man in tight Wranglers, pointed-toe boots and a cowboy hat. I'll even do a double-take if I see a man in a hat. I love horses, too. I have two of them and they are the biggest babies you could ever want to be around.

So I'm sure you have to wonder, is my husband a cowboy? Nope. Furthest thing from it actually. I did get him into a cowboy hat, jeans and boots for our wedding though. He puts up with my cowboy fascination and loves me anyway. He has been on the horse -- once or twice, but a natural, he's not. He is the love of my life though and we were one of those, 'I love you' very quickly. We met on New Years' Eve 1998 and he asked me to marry him 2 weeks later. On the 28th of this month, we'll be married 11 years.

So for those of you who haven't found that special someone and live through our novels, we thank you. Yes, I do still have my fantasy men, but they have now become the heroes in my books and I love for all my readers to meet them as each new piece becomes available.



Tina Donahue said...

I admire all you pantsters, Sandy. My outlines are sometimes longer than my books!! But as long as we all reach the same HEA and a satisfying read, who's to say which way is best. :)

Molly Daniels said...

My family is currently irritated by the fact I've left four Winter Olympic episodes (ice dancing) on the DVR. I couldn't help it; seeing some of the dances inspired stories to come to mind while hearing the music and watching their dance. But since I didn't have time back of these days I'll rewatch and write. Same goes for another series; I'm writing another story and I call the series 'research'.

Inspiration hits at the oddest times and without warning:)

Paris said...

Inspiration can happen anytime and anywhere but I get my best ideas around water, especially in the shower. Since I'm a plodder...ugh, plotter, taking notes at this time can get very interesting:-)

Renee Vincent said...

Nice post, Sandy. And that is so great how you've been married to him for 11 years, even after the "quick" I love you's.

I am like you. I have my fantasy men: my brawny Viking warriors, my long and lean farm boys, but I love and will always love my DH. He is as you said, the love of my life.

See ye next month!

Renee Vincent said...

Oh forgot to say...I am a pantster all the way!!! I cannot plot an outline to save my ... well you get the picture.

And everyone wants to know how in the world I keep it all straight. Especially after they read Ræliksen and find out all the twists at the end. But that is just me and how I do things.
Like Tina said above, as long as we all reach the same HEA and a satisfying read, who's to say which way is best. :)

Ok now I'm done. :-)

Linda Kage said...

Aww. 1998 was such a wonderful year. That's when I met my HEA man.

I'm with Tina. I'm in total awe of your pantsing abilities. I have to have some direction when I start writing. Of course, from there, the characters like to steer me in a different direction.

Katalina Leon said...

Sandy I love your love story! Thank you for sharing it.
I'm a half-pants down type of writer. I write a tight plot line with every intention of following it and then I immediately abandon it and go commando in unplanned directions... It always leads back to a HEA so I don't fight it anymore. lol

Anonymous said...


Carly Carson said...

I asked my daughter to translate the Chinese. She picked out 'me' 'and' 'you' (separately) and I said I think that's enough. lol

Cindy Spencer Pape said...

I'm halfway between plotting and pantsing--depends on the book, but if it's more than 20K or so I usually have some sort of vague outline to keep me on the right track--not that I stick to it.

My dh and I dated a whole SIX weeks before getting engaged. And we just celebrated our 25th. So here's to love at first sight!

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