I’m often asked where I get the ideas for my books. I don’t know about other writers’ methods, but my method is to create memorable characters FIRST, then let them tell their story.
Tucker’s Way began with the creation of Tucker (who turned out to be a character people can’t forget). Then I asked myself why a person would become the way she was, in other words, what was HER story? Next, I asked myself what she would do if she ever had to interact with someone who was her polar opposite? That was how the character of Ella came to life. But, again, what was HER story? Revealing to readers their individual stories, plus their joint story, became easy to write. The other characters in the book sprang up as I began writing Tucker and Ella’s story.
In Toby the story was to be about two characters: Symphony and her dog, Toby. But suddenly, as I began writing their story, these other characters began appearing. Caleb, the dark character, was no where in my mind when I began writing the book. I “accidently” found him.
This last aspect of writing is one of the most enjoyable, when characters appear that I’d not thought about or planned on. Or sometimes a character does or says something that I had not planned on. (No, I’m not spirit possessed when I write.) I simply have the characters interacting with each other, doing and saying things that are true to their character.
It doesn’t make any difference how well you use metaphors and similes in your writing or how complex your plot might be. If you don’t have characters that are memorable, that always act in ways that are true to them, people won’t be interested in reading your books.
My motto is: let the story serve the characters, not vice versa.