As a reader, I always wondered how an author penned a book. How did Jane Austen plot Pride and Prejudice. Did she imagine the story first and drew the characters second? Did she imagine Elizabeth first or Darcy? Was Wickham her inspiration? Did she draw on real people, real experiences? And if all characters are nothing but their author’s alter ego, then how could Lizzie and Emma and Catherine and Fanny and Anne all be different?
The truth is it’s both internal and external for an author. It’s observation and experience, research and imagination, plotting and deviating from the plot. Ask a hundred authors what inspires them or about their method of writing and you will get a hundred (times 10) different answers.
Some write in bursts, others every day. Some write while sober, others while intoxicated. There are depressed writers, happy authors, night writers and day writers. Some write epics in coffee shops and make the franchise famous, others from the comfort of their beds. Some write when inspiration hits while some just sit down and write. Some outline while others write by the seat of their pants. For some creativity is hard work and for others it’s second nature. A book whose author never went to school can do as sensationally as one whose author had a double PhD. I believe that a writer will write his story and that story will find a reader.
What I’m getting at is that there is no Write Way. There is only write and write and write every day.
For me personally, I tend to imagine my characters first. Who are they? What makes them tick? How do they look? What baggage do they carry? What do they want out of life? What might life teach them? I imagine the characters until they become my best friends and then I give them their story.
(pics and gifs: random search online)