Apr 18 2024
by Dana Wayne

TexasWinds_EB.jpg   Of all the questions I'm asked as an author, probably the most common one is "Where do you get your story ideas?"
The short answer is: Everywhere. Anything can spark a story. An interesting person I meet, a situation, sometimes in a dream and sometimes even an item of clothing can spark an idea. That's just how my brain works.

And because my work is character-driven vs plot-driven, ideas come to me character first. Sometimes that character has a name, sometimes not, but their story begins to form in bits and pieces right away. And most of the time, once the idea forms, I noodle on it for several days, trying out different scenarios, time periods, and so on in my head to see what fits them. 

For Texas Winds, I was scrolling through one of those photo sites looking for a picture to use in an ad and came across one of a man sitting on a horse, looking out over the this vast western landscape. Immediately, my writer's brain started asking questions. Who is he? Why is he there? Is he happy? Is he sad? Mad? And I knew right away his name was Jake. So I began asking Jake all those questions. As they answers came, his story slowly began to form.

And the fact is, aside from the first chapter, various aspects of that story changed as I went along. I'm a pantser (I write by the seat of my pants) meaning I don't plot or outline, I just sit down and write till the words stop coming. But being a pantser is both a blessing and curse. I love the creative freedom it allows but sometimes find I have written myself into a corner and have to figure out how to get out. Or, I hit a wall and don't know where to go next. When that happens, I have to stop and review what I've written. More times than not I find I have written something the way I thought it should be written rather than letting the story tell me what to write. Now, I know that may sound crazy because how can something I'm writing in the first place tell me I'm doing it wrong, but it's true. 

Just like real people, my imaginary friends as my husband calls them, have their own quirks, habits, morals, etc. and their story has a 'vibe', something that feels right or wrong about it. As long as I'm going with that vibe, the words flow. When I hit a slick spot and head off into the weeds, that's when I get in trouble and have to figure out where I got off track before I can resume.

I've wanted to write for as long as I can remember and my career is a dream come true for me. I love what I do. Characterization is probably my favorite part of the the process and I spend a great deal of time getting to know my characters so the reader will, too. 

My goal is construct a believable story filled with relatable characters that grab you from page one and hold on till the end. I am very blessed and grateful to have devoted readers who enjoy what I write. And when someone says my characters felt real to them, like they could be next door neighbors or best friends, my writer's heart just goes pitty-pat with happiness because it means I succeeded in what I set out to do.

And for that I am truly thankful. 

Happy reading!