When I start plotting a book, I usually begin with something I've dreamt about, or a situation from real life. Reading other author's work has never triggered ideas for my own books. Of course, what I dream about may be the byproduct of what I read the night before, but that's the tiny miracle of my subconscious at work.
If I'm writing a long book, I will plot it on the computer. I write plot points, sometimes dialogue, and will often write a whole scene that is in my head, just so I don't forget it. The plot for one of my first books ended up at 30,000 words, so you can imagine how long the book was.
With Dancing in a Hurricane, the plotting was fun because of the setting and the multicultural aspect of the book. Sixto is a Cuban-American, and he and his friends use Cubonics - slang words that capture their culture.
It was important to me to have a very accurate view of Miami. I did extensive research online, and spoke to people who live there, asking them dozens of questions, some of which I'm sure they thought were very strange.
Reading the Miami papers online helped me develop the conflict for the story; a controversy which is still a hot topic for the city. After I wrote the first draft, I contacted the local Romance Writers of America chapter and asked for a reader to critique the story from the cultural point of view. I was lucky to find a woman who was married to a Cuban-Amercian man and she gave me some wonderful input.
While each story is different, the process is usually the same. 1) dream up a story, 2) plot it out, 3) research like crazy, 4) rewrite, rewrite, rewrite until it's as close to perfect and I can make it.
What is your favorite part about your job? Do you like the creative process, or does the logical side of your work appeal to you more? Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Dancing in a Hurricane.
~Smart Women ~Sexy Men ~Seductive Romance
Dancing in a Hurricane is available in digital and paperback formats at Amazon and in paperback at Createspace