I’ve been asked many times how I plan and map-out my Jake Sullivan novels. The truth is, I only partially plan them.
I know of many authors who know to the finest detail, how each chapter, indeed each scene, will pan-out before they even put pen to paper, but that doesn’t work for me.
Generally, I’ll have a plot in mind and actually draft out the back cover book blurb before I do anything else. For me, this gives the plot some substance.
At that point, I’ll usually delve into the story and write the first few chapters. Immediately, I will get a feel for whether or not the plot is right.
The next phase is to design the cover. This is a fantastic motivational tool because the cover has to incorporate enough elements of the plot to intrigue and entice the reader; it has to give a clear message as to the nature of the story. My view is that if it entices and intrigues the readers, it will do the same for me and that motivates my writing.
I much prefer to write organically. Each chapter reveals something even I hadn’t expected. I love to be as surprised as my readers will be. If a plot-point causes me a sharp intake of breath or a smile, then it should do the same for them.
My characters are living, breathing beings with their own personalities and traits, so they can behave in ways that can catch even me, off-guard. I can write a scene and suddenly bring in another character that I hadn’t intended to be there; it’s as if they forced their way in. Their appearance can change the way the story was going and introduce a new, and hopefully exciting, element.
I just love it.
Of course this means that my original book blurb and cover idea might bear no resemblance to the finished story, but it really doesn’t matter; they can always be redone.