In my first novel, Hawks, which was pre-9/11, I had an idea about why someone would cause a commercial jetliner to crash. The story rose up around that central idea and became a novel about the airline industry and top executives in crisis at an airline. A new digital version of that book will launch by the end of the year.
In my legal thriller, A Question of Proof, the protagonist, a lawyer , was so much like me – same background, profession, concerns, values – that character was in many ways a given, so constructing an engrossing plot was uppermost in my thinking. The plot about his lover charged with murdering her husband had to twist and turn and the stakes had to be the psychic equivalent of life and death before I could even think the character could become the basis of a novel.
But what I find most intriguing is when an opening line pops into my head and that starts me thinking in directions, both of character and of plot, I might never have considered before. Who said it? What was happening? What could result? That obsessive creativity is why we write. For that and, of course, for money.