I know there's thousands of books out there about how to write, and like talking about drug-taking, or talking about your dreams, talking about writing is very interesting to the writer but boring as hell for everyone else. However, what are blogs for if not for self-indulgent noodling?
I used to be a voracious reader of TV/TG fiction. I still am to some degree. However, the idea of writing somethig myself didn't even occour to me for a very long time. What sparked me to begin was that I read a short story that I liked a lot, but it ended in a way that I didn't particularly like. On a whim, I decided to just change the last couple of paragraphs to an ending I liked more. I liked what I had written, and I went further, changing some earlier parts. Then I decided to rewrite the whole thing. I removed all the original author's text and started from the beginning again until it was completley new. There were similarities in the structure and plot of course, but you could probably say that about 90% of all TV/TG fiction. That story was The Gift, and soon as I'd finished it, I wanted to start on another.
The way I started to write, influencedthe way I would write from then on. Since, I wrote first for no better reason than to please or amuse myself, I've never really written anything 'for' any audience apart from myself. I only write what I might want to read myself, and I think that's a very good way for anyone to start. People say 'write what you know' but I think 'write what you like' is even more important. If the story doesn't please you, you're very unlikely to be able to please anyone else with it. Now, of course, I like the works of some great authors, and I can't ever hope to write _like_ them, but I can write about the same kind of thing - I'm talking about the content, not the form.
The other thing that I inherited from the way I wrote my first story was that I started with some 'scenes' that were central to the story and then worked towards them. Since then, I haven't actually written that way, I start at the beginning and then work from there, but when I get an idea for a story, the idea is a scene, a moment in time that is exciting or interesting. The characters, the plot, the setting, they all flow from that initial 'picture' in my head. Sometimes it's just a single picture, sometimes it's a whole series of them, but that always comes first. For 'Stephanie's Scheme' the picture in my head was of a teenager, squirming at the realisation that his hot stepmother knows that his is a closet crossdresser. (Not very original, but I liked the idea.) I began working to that, without much idea of what the story would be like. In the first chapter, I introduced his older sister, and very quickly, the story actually became about her rather than her brother. It took me thousands of words to actually get to that scene that I had orignally imagined, and to be honest, once I got beyond it, the story got sort of lost, and I've had huge difficulty in getting past that.
With Clarissa, the scene was of a couple in a consulting room, with the wife calmly relating the details of their femdom lifestyle to a female psychiatrist. I liked that idea a lot, and I made sure I got there as quickly as possible. Of course, since that scene is really about the psychiatist's reaction, I wrote it from her point of view, and, as readers have pointed out several times, it's called 'Clarissa' but it's really about the psychiatrist, Jenny and her husband.
I don't know if writing in this way is really a good idea. It's how I do it, but I'm not really advocating it as a method for anyone else. Clearly, beginning with a good idea of what the plot will be, how long the story will be, it's structure, plot, characters is a great idea, but no everyone is able or willing to do that. I've tried to map things out in advance, and I find that pretty easy, but sticking to it is much harder, and makes the whole thing feel like hard work, and since I just do this to please myself, I rarely ever do that.
What I find particularly difficult is pacing. I want to get to the 'good stuff' but I need to set things up in a particular way. Making the action move along at a pace that feels natural and easy for the user, without glossing over things or slowing the pace to a mind-numbing crawl is hard, or at least I find it so. I think if i did plan the structure more in advance that would probably be much easier. I kid myself that I get ideas as I write, and contraining myself to a timeline or script in advance would spoil that, but that's really just an excuse for laziness and self-indulgence.
I think, over time, I have got even worse at completing things. I haven't managed to actually get to the end of a story in years. I look back now at the end of 'Least Resistance' and wonder how I ever managed to wrap it up. Things take my interest and then wane just as quick. At the moment, I'm writing short pieced but even finishing those seems very difficult. Maybe getting some feedback on them might spur me on, but I wouldn't bet on it.