Margaret looks at how she develops a story.
You might find this hard to
believe but I only need the germ of an idea to begin writing a story. It could
be a reason why hero and heroine do not hit it off straight away. Perhaps
trouble over an inheritance they both believed was their right. Or something as
simple as a clash of personalities. I develop both the story and the characters
as I go along. I know it goes against all the rules but this is what I do.
Meeting characters in a book is
like meeting people in real life. You peel off layer after layer as you get to
know them. No author gives everything away in the first few pages. Information
is fed in little by little with the intention of drawing in the reader so that
they anxiously turn pages to find out what happens next.
Often I don’t even know myself
what’s going to happen. Some people find it surprising when they hear I write
like this but to me it’s one of the most enjoyable aspects, because if I don’t know then the reader won’t be
able to guess either. OK, it can misfire and I have to go back and fill in the
blanks, so to speak, but I can live with that.
My stories develop in different
ways, either through the main characters and their goals – which are very often
entirely opposite to each other and result in conflict. Or they go off at a
tangent I hadn’t even thought about. Having said that, although I don’t exactly
plot, I do need conflict strong enough to last the entire story. Also one which
needs to be resolved before they can admit their love. And very often as they
sort out one source of conflict there will be another still waiting to happen.
The beauty of it is they always
have happy endings. It’s the pathway to that ending which is the intriguing
part. And I never know how my characters are going to reach it.