Before I start my topic, I have to give a shout out to Cindy Woolard. She reads our blog faithfully and I got to meet her at my daughter-in-law's company picnic on Saturday. I was standing around waiting for the plant tour to begin, when this lovely lady came up to me and asked, "Are you Colleen Coble?" I said I was and she told me I was her very favorite author. She started reading my books after hearing me on the radio (WBCL) and talking to her just made my day! :)
See this picture? This is where it all REALLY started. You think I'm talking about our friendship but I'm really talking about my coffee addiction. I recently took one of my very early books and took it apart, then reconstructed it into a very different romantic suspense story instead of the simple sweet romance it had been. As I was working on it, I realized it was written in my pre-coffee days. Yes, they really did exist! Lucy hated coffee just the way I did back in the day.
You're not half as shocked as I am when I realized there had even BEEN a pre-coffee time. I'd forgotten. Truly. Here is how it all began. See that sweet face on the left? After getting to know her via email, I roomed with her at Glorietta Christian Writers Conference. Her addiction was so great that she rented a car only so she could go to Santa Fe after a mocha. I informed her that I despised coffee. (Oh the horror!) She assured me I would like an iced blended mocha. She insisted I take sip of hers. I liked it so well she bought me one of my own and the rest is history.
A mocha is a introductory drug. It sucks you in with its sweet taste. It's like a milk shake. Then you get to where you like that taste of coffee that you can just barely taste under the sugar and whipped cream. Before you know it, you're asking for the barista to cut back on the amount of chocolate so you can taste the coffee. The next thing you realize, you're actually drinking coffee. It's a slow, insidious slide into sin. LOL
So in honor of our friendship and how it all began, we're going to change things up a little on the blog. The first week of every month, we're going to talk about the writing process.
The first thing that is necessary is coffee. No, Diann, not instant coffee. The real thing. When I'm planning a new book, I first decide where I want to set it. Yes, that's right. I don't even think about a character yet. Just the setting. I've found that picking the setting is the base of everything for me. The people who live in the U.P. are different than the people who live in California. I'm writing a new series set in the Outer Banks right now. Lots of watermen out there. I like just saying that word. Waterman. :) My hero is in the Coast Guard. My heroine is an architectural historian. Lots of old buildings out east. Researching the setting usually leads me to my plot too.
So my first piece of advice is to think about a place you know and love. Or would like to learn more about--then go do that. Research the history. Read newspaper archives to see what kinds of problems are going on there. See how a character you could care about could fit in. What did you come up with?
Labels: coffee, how to start a novel