I say this with both excitement and trepidation, because as much as I like parts of the creative process, the overall construction of a full-length novel is always somewhat of a struggle for me. I know some authors who can pump them out, 90K - 100K words at a clip, with one or two drafts and then BAM! they're ready for publication.
That is not me.
Some books, I'll admit, are easier than others to write. But even after 10 books under my belt, I still struggle. I usually have an idea of a plot, and a theme, and I can plan out the general direction of where I think the story is going to go...but then I often get stuck. I don't typically rely on overly-used romance tropes, which means because I don't write about billionaire CEOs giving their 22-year old virginal secretaries multiple orgasms,, or arranged marriages where the hero will of course fall for the heroine even though they have nothing at common at the start, I don't always have a built-in, easy-to-identify plot set-up. This is probably a mistake. Yet I don't like reading contrived romances, and I dislike falling into them as a writer even more.
So I struggle to make my characters face new and different challenges. I try to make them real people, with realistic problems, and I try to make their worlds come to life. I'm about 8K words into the first draft of a book called Spring Secrets. Very tentatively, it is about a woman who returns to her hometown under the guise of taking a teaching job, but really she is researching and analyzing the behavior of the townspeople for her dissertation. The hero is a local guy who just wants to make a successful go of his gym and keep to himself, since he's been burned in the past by a failed marriage. Yes, they fall for each other. Yes, all their past mistakes and secrets get in the way of them having a happy, healthy relationship. But I have mountains of work to do... soI hope you'll stick around to see how it all comes out. One thing I know for sure: this book will look very different when it's finally done than it does right now. And I guess I just have to have patience with that process.
Like I said, the struggle is real.