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?
For me the Why is usually one of the driving factors in creating fiction. The other elements definitely come into play, but I try to continually ask “Why is my hero/heroine doing this? What’s his/her motivation?” Focusing on that question usually helps me through stumbling blocks, as well as helps to reveal character traits I didn’t consciously plan from the start. As my characters react to situations, the plot unfolds.
1. How do you create your characters? Do you have a specific process?
a. I usually have a general idea about my main characters when I start thinking about a new project, but I do like to spend some time getting to know them before I jump into writing the book. I used to use pretty extensive character charts, but I’ve gotten away from those. Now I just sketch out some basics: physical appearance, background/family history, past hurts, and how I want the character to change by the end of the book. That’s usually enough to get me started.
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?
a. I used to plot and plan a lot more when I first started writing. I think I have gotten more comfortable in letting my plotlines develop as I write, now. I do usually have a general idea of where I want the plot to go, from beginning to end, but my characters ALWAYS take me on twists and turns that I didn’t predict!
3. Do you know how the story will end before you begin? In a general way or a specific one?
a. I usually have a pretty specific idea of how the story will end when I begin. I think if I didn’t know where I wanted the story to go, and especially how I wanted the characters to change, I wouldn’t have enough to build a plotline upon. I read once that Stephen King has written entire books based on nothing more than a single image in his mind, when he begins. That’s definitely not me!
4. Do you choose settings you know or do you have books of settings and plans of houses sitting around?
a. All of the books I’ve written to date are based on settings I know, either places I’ve actually been or fictional settings created from familiar places in my life. I travel a lot, and I write contemporary romance set in this world and time, so I love drawing upon the variety of small towns and big cities I’ve seen.
5. Where do you do your research? On line or from books?
a. Online. I have the bad habit of writing in one screen while I have an Internet browser open in another, so anytime I need to look something up, it’s literally there at my fingertips.