|Dani Marco: My inspiration for Eva|
For me, this means extensive character write-ups on my main people. I now know how Eva Parker (my protagonist) dresses, what her hobbies are, what she's afraid of, what her strongest and weakest character traits are, etc.
The same goes for a half dozen other people in the cast. Along the way, as I've built all these characters, I've jotted down idea potentials for the novel. I know a few elements that will definitely be in the book, but for the most part, I don't know where I'm going with this story. (I'm trying not to be terrified by that and just relax into building up the world first.) I now have over eight pages of notes of possible plot points.
Next up, I will be creating a collage and writing a three-page synopsis for the book. That means that I have to actually get down and dirty with plot. While I've got the elements and tons of ideas of what could happen, the entire arc of the story hasn't unfolded in my head yet. I was hoping that inspiration would strike by now, and in a stroke of genius, I would suddenly have the major plot outlined. In lieu of that, I'm going to have to do it the old-fashioned way: Sit my butt in a chair and keep at it until that moment when creativity meets hard work, and the story starts flowing. Right now, the characters are speaking to me. They're fun and funny, flawed and needy. I can't wait to throw them up against some tough challenges. Now to get the plot to start speaking to me at the same volume.