With so many stories in your head, how do you choose which to write?
This is a great question. The short answer is, no clue. The long answer is, it depends on which story has the best opening chapter in my head. That's usually the one I will write next. Since I am currently working on the third book of a series, the opening of this book was practically done before I finished book 2 because I knew exactly where the story was heading. :-)
If the opening hooks me, I'll keep going. When I get to chapter three or four, I usually set it aside and think about it, a lot. For at least a week. I like to see the characters and scenes in my head. I want to make sure the characters are believable and the world building is solid. At this point, I usually start taking notes if I haven't yet. Yes, even pantsers need notes (sometimes outlines too!).
Right now, I have four or five ideas rolling around in my brain. I have no idea which one I want to do next. It's possible I can combine those five ideas into three, so that helps, somewhat. I have several projects that I've started and stopped writing because they weren't working for me. I still go back to some of them and reread them to see if they're worth finishing, but I will be honest, that rarely happens.
What's the weirdest thing that ever inspired a story?
The Wild & Wicked story started out as a dream. Yes, I had a dream I was in a strip club watching some hot chick give an even hotter guy a lap dance. I think I was a bartender or waitress because it wasn't me giving the dance. :-( When I woke up from the dream, most of it had faded but that one moment stayed in my head. I wondered why she was there. Aside from looking like Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who was he? (Hey, it was a dream!) I had to know, so I wrote the opening and BOOM the entire story came to me while writing that first chapter. It took me by surprise, but I kept writing and eventually that first story because a much bigger story than I had originally planned.
People have inspired me as well. Sometimes it's a character on TV or a person walking down the street. A specific quality or feature will often find it's way into a book. I've even used direct quotes from people and put them in my novels.
I tend to people watch when I'm out among the crowds so I never have a problem creating characters, I'm surrounded by them. :-)
How awesome does writing feels and why you do it?
This one is a trick question, right? Finishing a book feels amazing. Writing it doesn't always feel that way. At times, I can be fighting a backache from sitting too long...Kidding!! Well, not really, writers do spend lots of time sitting and typing, so it is important to make sure you get up and move. Lucky for me I have dogs that need to go for walks three times a day, so regardless of what I'm doing if they need to go outside, we're going outside.
Often, that little break is good for me. I'll be thinking about what I've just written, where I'd like it to go, and many times other ideas for plot points further along in the story come to me. My brain works in very weird ways.
I've been writing seriously, with the purpose getting published, for over 15 years now. However, I've been a writer all my life. I've dabbled in poetry, fan fiction, novels, novellas, short stories, content writing, and even screenplays. At this point in my life, I think it's just part of who I am now. I started writing as a means of escaping reality and coping with teenage life, like many kids do. Writing just stayed with me through the years changing from diaries and blogs, but it never left me and probably never will.
How about you? Do you have a hobby that became a part-time job or life long goal? I'd love to hear your story!