I might be coining a term here, but ‘organic’ is the most accurate way I can describe my writing process. I start with my characters and a general idea of the plot, and the rest just kind of grows naturally. I know where I’m going, but not exactly how I’m going to get there. And for me, that’s the magical part of writing.
I can explain better with an example, so I’ll use one from my fantasy romance book, THE FIRE LORD’S LOVER.
My heroine, Lady Cassandra Brydges, is leaving a ball after she has just arrived at Firehame palace and has no idea how to find her chambers. Being Lady Cassandra, she would notice an urchin stealing a bit of supper from the tables, and so I created Gwen to guide her. Now Gwen is a slave from the elven wars, and Cass would not be able to help feeling sorry for the girl, and wouldn’t it be just like Cass to elevate a slave to a servant? So Gwen became her maid, and then I realized that this would be the perfect way for Lady Cassandra to find out more about her husband, General Dominic Raikes, who grew up as a slave in Firehame palace. So they are off to the kitchens to find May, who is a friend of Gwen’s. With elven blood in their veins, each of the slave girls has to possess some type of magical power. So I gave Gwen the gift of ‘finding things’ (I just thought this would be fun), and May the gift of weaving anything that falls within her clever fingers (a reason for Cass to hire her to do her hair).
And then the girls became a part of the plot, and their magical gifts grew useful accordingly. Gwen’s magic became useful when Cass was looking for Dominic, and Lady Cassandra realized that Gwen may be able to using her ‘finding’ magic with a map, once Gwen explained to Cass that she could see the aura of items to find them (and that grew from developing Gwen’s powers a bit more).
And then it seemed logical that Gwen could also ‘find’ dreams. And since May could weave sunlight, it followed that she could weave dreams as well. And the girls had become so fond of Cass that they would surely do anything to protect their mistress, and so toward the end of the book, they used their magic to create a cloak of dreams to protect Lady Cassandra when the elven lord threatened her.
I had no idea when I introduced Gwen that she would become so fundamental to the story. She was originally only a secondary character that would help Cass find her chambers.
And so that’s why I call my writing process organic, because one thing grows from another and half the time I don’t know how the story or characters will develop. So for those of you who also write without a rigid outline, I can only advise you to trust yourself. Learn everything about the craft that you can, but only use what makes sense to your writing process.
Water your garden with your imagination and watch it grow.
I hope you found this peek into my writing process helpful,