Some writers love to plot. They are more analytical by nature and they enjoy the task of detailing and fine-tuning the plot points of an outline before they ever start writing the book. Others think that plotting ahead of time is boring - it takes all of the fun out of discovery of the story. I am not super analytical, though I do a lot of pondering, and I love to answer those "why?" questions and understand the motives of people. This makes me rather introspective, but, well, it's the way I work. And the way I think.
So when it comes to plotting, I don't get very far unless I understand the characters of a story. Give me what happened, and I will ask you how and why? I want to imagine it with the characters, to walk with them through their story. Of course, it helps if you know what that story is...
That's where detailed plotters have an edge on me...
But...the fun part of both plotting and getting to know the characters comes when those characters finally start to play nice. They stop hiding their true selves from me and trust me with their secrets. Like getting to know a new friend - you don't trust someone immediately. It takes time to get to know them and some people are easier to get to know and to trust than others. Characters, since they are a combination of all of the people an author has met or seen or known in real life, are the same way. I might think I've got a movie actor's motives figured out by the way she acts, but I really don't know her. For that matter, I might think I know my own husband's motives and be wrong - and I do know him!
It is those character secrets that create those "aha" moments - when we realize something that makes the whole story better. Something that gives meaning to the plot in subtle but important ways. It's the understanding of motives or the realization of something in a character's backstory that you hadn't seen before.
The other night I had one of those epiphanies for my current work-in-progress - Rebekah's story. At last! I don't know why it took me so long to see it before now...sometimes things just work that way. But I love how God can point me to one obscure little verse and have it awaken a whole new thought process! Now I can't wait to finish this!