Brainstorming. This occured before, during and after writing my novel. I brainstormed and this is how I decided to write my first book. I remember talking to a dear friend of mine, in the parking lot of a favorite fast food restaurant and I had this idea. My idea was about how witches came to be. We began talking about my theory and bouncing different ideas around. We talked about the opposite side of my theory and the controversy that could surround it. We started expanding on the base theory out into vampires and other creatures and how they came about. This banter back and forth led me to think that this would make a good book.
So, I went home and began writing down the theory and ideas that we had discussed and started researching ideas on the internet. I started putting together reference materials and making binders with print outs in them to help guide my journey of writing this theory down and turning it into a story. I filled several notebook pages with my scribbles and ideas. Then, deciding to change or add something, I would scratch through the thought and continue to fill pages.
Everything changes because one idea spurs another and this causes things to change and that thought to be removed. Then in removing this thought, now you have to remove this other idea over here and so forth. It is a never-ending cascading ring of events.
After all my ideas were down on paper (I thought), I started working on my characters. I had no formalized process and again it was back to the notebook and I started with Tempie. I wrote down basics about my main characters such as their description, maybe birthday and some very brief vague history. So as I start writing I had about three notebooks that I was digging through to find my reference materials. I finally decided to get a little more organized by developing folders on my computer and developing character sheets.
During the writing process, ideas change and develop and then it is back to brainstorming. I had a very detailed outline in the beginning of what was going to happen in my book and I can say that my ideas and characters have changed a great deal from that outline. Several times I thought I was done writing and then another idea presented itself so then I was adding something or changing a scene. I began to tell myself that I needed to quit having ideas or my book was never going to be done. I now realize that it was still just developing.