We all know there are six elements in writing fiction and often fact. Who, What, When, Where, Why and How. I believe the first five lead to the sixth which for me is the plot. What's your take on this?
I absolutely agree. I usually get the Who and the What first. Then I have to sit and figure out When, Where, and Why. Then I start to plot my outline and I figure out the How. If you can answer all those questions, then I think you’re on the road to a solid novel.
1. How do you create your characters? Do you have a specific process?
I think my characters come organically. I start with some general idea of them in a situation. Then I start figuring out who they really are, how they got to where they are at that point in their lives, and finally what they look like.
2. Do your characters come before the plot? Do you sketch out your plot or do you let the characters develop the route to the end?
I’m a plotter. But I’d say that my characters come first. I usually have a tiny plot bunny about a specific character. Then, I let my characters grow and guide me through the outline process so that the story makes sense for them. However, it’s not unheard of for my characters to raise their voice while I write to tell me they want to tell the story in a slightly different way.
3. Do you know how the story will end before you begin? In a general way or a specific one?
Yes and no. Sometimes I know exactly where I want the story to start and stop, but many times it’s just a general concept at first. That’s when I plot my outline. So by the time I start Chapter One, I know—at least roughly—where I’ll be when I type The End. How I get there, or where ‘there’ is exactly may change a little as I write, but generally I know where I’m going with the story right from the start.
4. Do you choose settings you know or do you have books of settings and plans of houses sitting around?
Every book is different. For my Meadow Ridge series, the Meadow is a completely fictional place. I just imagined the kind of place I wanted my characters to be from and started creating it. First the building facades, then the streets, then names of shops, etc. And the beauty is, I can expand it and manipulate it anyway I want. For Love on Landing (coming next year!) I used my personal memories of Paris as a guide. For my new wip, I actually had to look up maps of NYC so that I could be true to the city layout while my characters raced through subways, churches, gardens and bridges to escape capture!
5. Where do you do your research? On line or from books?
Everything I do is online these days. I can find everything I need with just a few clicks and I don’t have to leave my writing chair!
~Heart, humor and a happily ever after.