I don’t think I have ever completed one story that had followed a plot outline. I start out with the best of intentions. I tried so hard follow the schools of thought that were handed down through my Survey of British Lit and Advanced English classes. I tried writing software programs and everything under the sun to finish a book, short story, novel, what have you. Needless to say, about one thousand bucks and a whole lot of self-help books later, I realized plotting just isn’t my thing, it left me with more unfinished works than it helped me to finish the manuscripts.
I would have loved to say, that I came up with this plot and it followed this timeline. That, however, doesn’t jive whatsoever with the way I think. I am a "go with the flow, in the moment, coming at you on all cylinders and a can of Red Bull" kinda gal. My stories have to be like that as well. For me, it is the characters you create that shape the story and they will tell you where they want to go. None of my heroines like to be told what to do, so who am I to try to make them follow a particular plot?
With Marked in Montana, my work with Beautiful Trouble Publishing, the plot came with the outfit. The challenge was the cowgirl outfit. The heroine character that jumped in my head, Sam, stood up and screamed I will rock that outfit, and you know it! And that is how she was born, I didn’t need to come up with her, she came to me because of the outfit. She did rock the outfit by the way.
My characters are usually the result of my writing style; they are fly-by-the-seat, non-stereotypical, intriguing characters that have a mind of their own.