In her own words, here's Trish's writing process:
1. Daydream about my characters over several days until I have a good idea of who they are, at which point I make note of their main points: looks (I search for pictures of people—usually celebrities—who look similar to how I picture my characters), personality type (both strengths and weaknesses), family background, etc. I use a program on my computer that allows me to store pictures and details so I always have them to refer back to. That way I don’t forget details as the story progresses, like eye color, family makeup, and so forth.
2. Determine how my hero and heroine will cross paths. I usually try to have some
conflict in that, even if it’s just funny conflict. Since I write romance, they at least notice each other early on, even if they don’t interact right away.
3. Plan out five plot turns (the fifth of which will be the climax) that will impact my lead character significantly in her personal journey during the book. These plot turns will happen close to the beginning and then at about the 25%, 50%, and 75% points in the story. And then, of course, the climax occurs close to the story’s end.
4. Figure out (in one sitting or often as I go along) how my lead character will go from each of those plot turns to the next. Each step of the way will usually result in a separate chapter. I often just plan out the first several chapters—by writing a sentence or two about what will happen—and then get to writing. Otherwise you could spend all your time planning and never get around to writing!
5. This is enough to get me through my first draft. I tend to do a lot of editing as I go along, and I always stray from my original outline a bit, depending on where the characters take me.
Perry holds a B.A. in Psychology, was a 1980s stockbroker, and held positions at the Securities and Exchange Commission and in several Washington law firms. She serves on the Board of Directors of CCW and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America. She invites you to visit her at www.trishperry.com