The first answer, of course, is, “I don’t know.”
And honestly, I don’t. I have no idea what gives me the ability to create a story out of thin air, and then to find all the necessary words to make it come alive in someone else’s head. I write. I just do.
The other answer is more complicated. I’ve blogged about the technical aspects of getting the words on the paper, but not about the stuff that happens inside my head during the creative process. The same stuff goes on a little during edits, but during the process of getting the rough draft hammered out is when the big stuff happens.
And it’s big stuff indeed. It really rather takes over my life. Miraculously, I’ve managed to churn out two and half books without running any red lights or rear-ending anyone, and I (mostly) manage to get to the places I’m supposed to be on time. Because during this part of creating a novel, I’m really not part of this world. The storyline is running through my head on a pretty constant basis … in the bath, during my drive to and from work, during conversations, even. Any of my friends can tell you they’ve experienced times with me when I abruptly stopped paying attention to what they were saying, or, worse, stopped them so I could find something upon which to jot the idea that popped into my head because they said the word “orange.”
And, even with all that thinking, and all that jotting, and stuff … my characters still manage to surprise me while I’m writing it out. And, sometimes, I even manage to surprise myself.