My novel-writing process is generally pretty organic. I don’t typically spend a lot of time beforehand plotting out what the arc of the story will look like, what events will take place where or when, any of that.
Instead, I start with a character, and begin exploring what that character’s up to, what their life is like, what they’re thinking about the events unfolding around them. I get to know them, and introduce them to my reader.
Of course, at first, this material is all coming from my own conscious thoughts and decisions and research and intentions for the character.
Eventually, though, my character starts to speak for himself (or herself). I can almost feel them draw that first shuddering breath of life, as they cast my hand off their shoulder and say to me, “I’ll take it from here.”
That’s a magical moment for me, and it’s when I know I’ve got a story – and after that point, it’s just a matter of keeping up with my characters as their story unfolds, writing it down as they tell it to me.
Yeah, I still sometimes take control and make something happen, whether for dramatic purposes, or because events on the calendar by which my character is living are pressing on me.
For the most part, though, I let my characters lead the way, solving their problems, feeling their hurts, living their lives. It’s not a very structured way of writing a novel, but it works pretty well for me.