Before I write a book, I do a lot of gathering. I give myself a license to daydream. I listen to music. I scribble very random ideas into pretty notebooks and onto my favorite half-sized, lined note cards.
Because I write historicals, I do a lot of research. I know I’ll only use about 2% of it, but somehow all that knowledge about a given time and place makes me feel like I’m not bumping around in the dark. I let myself follow whatever tangent, and print out anything I find that’s interesting. I hole punch everything and put it into a binder. I pin pictures and inspirational art onto my bulletin board.
Once that’s done, I do a lot of writing. Usually a lot of terrible, very bad, indistinct, no good, stinky writing.
Somewhere along the way, my story emerges, and then its suddenly there, very clear in my mind. Like a movie. It’s always really startling to see how so much of my “random” research becomes the resolution to a missing puzzle piece (like Jessa was talking about, see below!). As if that important detail was just meant to be included all along.
Do you brainstorm any types of projects? Whether it’s a quilt, or a recipe? And if so, does your end result usually come out like you intended or do things tend to take a surprising direction?