I used to be an actor, dancer and choreographer, and loved improvisation. Writing is getting into character in all the roles and doing “improv”. I start with characters, and create situations that will challenge them. I’m what writers call a “pantser”, meaning I plot by the seat of my pants for the first draft. My favorite part of writing is the arrival of a new character. They seem to show up and reveal themselves in ways I don’t plan or expect, and this brings new complexity to the lives of my ongoing characters. I like mining my ongoing characters’ past lives, too.
I have critique partners who read my works in progress. There’s nothing like another writer’s input to make for better writing. Revising can take longer than creating. I rewrite a book at least five times, sometimes more. The series may seem to come out fast as it gets published, but each book has actually been in progress for years. I have a stash of scenes and ideas extracted from books I didn’t use them in, and probably always will. I review my writing recycling bin periodically and clean it out. I find occasional gems as well as scenes that I need to reinstate that I thought I should cut—and a lot that makes me glad I cut and revise so much.