Friday, January 6, 2012

Friday - How She Does It - Wendy S. Marcus

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 agree. My books typically start off with a character in a particular situation. Then come the questions. Who is she/he? Why is he/she there? What happened before that particular situation? What will happen after? Blend in backstory, goals and motivations and the story grows from that one single scene that popped into my head. Sounds easy, right? It’s not!

1. How do you create your characters? Do you have a specific process?

Sometimes, while perusing the Internet (a favorite pastime of mine) I come across pictures of interesting faces and I print them out. A character can start out a single pair of eyes that caught my attention. For some reason, in every single book I’ve written, both published and unpublished, the hero has had dark hair. I guess that comes from personal preference. For my heroines I haven’t yet had a red head, but I’ve used black, blonde, and brown hair. My heroines have all been around 25 years old. I think I’ll need to start mixing that up! My heroes are all between 28 and 30. All my heroes are tall and muscular. (I do write for Harlequin, after all.) I guess I don’t have a specific process for creating characters. I start with one basic trait and work from there.

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?

My hero or heroine comes to me first. Then I work through the basic story I’d like to tell (which more often than not changes as I go along.) When I start to write I like to have at least a vague idea of where the story starts, one or two major scenes for the middle, and how it will end.

3. Do you know how the story will end before you begin? In a general way or a specific one?

For the manuscript I just recently turned into my editor, I had no idea how the story would end until my characters brought me to the end of their story. And let me tell you that was a bit stressful!

4. Do you choose settings you know or do you have books of settings and plans of houses sitting around?

So far all my books have been set in upstate New York because that’s what I know. But I see some research trips to tropical locales in my future!

5. Where do you do your research? On line or from books?

Since I write medical romance, research is very important to my books. I want medical conditions and treatments to be realistic so I do my research online – where information is most up to date. But I make sure to check a minimum of three reputable sites to assure my information is correct. I also like to address current issues that I research online like prescription fraud, hoarding, and domestic abuse.

Thank you so much for visiting! Be sure to check out an excerpt from my new Harlequin Medical Romance, Once a Good Girl… here tomorrow where I will be giving away two copies of my book, one to a lucky commenter from today’s post, and another to a lucky commenter tomorrow. To learn more about me please visit my website:


Taryn Kincaid said...

Nice interview, ladies!

Wendy S. Marcus said...

Thanks, Taryn! Boy you're an early bird.

Wendy S. Marcus said...

Oh. Just saw my time stamp. Must be set to pacific time!

Thanks for having me here today, Janet! I'm looking forward to chatting with your visitors!

Taryn Kincaid said...

Some of us have to work for a living! Up and at 'em.

Wendy S. Marcus said...

So glad we've had time for this private chat! If not for you I'd have been very lonely!

Lynda Kaye Frazier said...

Great interview. It helps a newbie to hear how others work through ideas.

Charmaine Gordon said...

Delightful interview, Wendy and Janet. Always up front and honest with your answers, Wendy. Your way of writing shows the way for other authors.
Just to mention, daughter Amy gifted me with a Nook for Christmas. Hmm.

Shoshanna Evers said...

Great interview! I also tend to write locales I know well (like NY). Good luck with youe new Harlequin, it sounds great!

Allie Boniface said...

Wendy, you talk about most of your heroes and heroines being of a similar "type". Does Harlequin encourage or support that? I think most of us know about the lines and how their authors are expected to write for a certain one. Do you ever feel limited by that?

Wendy S. Marcus said...

Hi Lynda!
Thanks for stopping by. I'm glad you found my post helpful.

Wendy S. Marcus said...

Hi Charmaine!
Thanks, and thanks for stopping by. I hope you are back to your active self again! I bought my husband a Nook for the holidays, too! He has yet to use it. Actually, he's going to the libaray today to learn how to borrow books with it.

Wendy S. Marcus said...

Hi Shoshana!
Thanks and thanks for stopping by! I guess soon you'll be writng books set in Florida. I guess all that heat will be a good thing!!!

Wendy S. Marcus said...

Hi Allie!
The one specific my editor has is that heroes must be heroic. In my third book (to be released in May here in the U.S.) my hero was sickly but still strong of character. I had to get rid of the sickly and put it in his past. I'm a very realistic writer. HQN is fine with that as long as I remember that their readers, to some extent, read to escape reality. I have the freedom to create my own characters, but for some reason I seem to have stuck with similar age ranges. That was my decision, not Harlequin's. And no, I don't feel at all limited writing for Harlequin except that since I write for the medical line I must have a medical background to each of my stories. That being said, I don't focus on the medical, and some of my books have more medical than others.

I hope I answered your question! Thanks for stopping by!

Romance Book Haven said...

Loveed reading this interview, Wendy!

Wendy S. Marcus said...

Thank you Romance Book Haven!
Thank you for stopping by!

Wendy S Marcus said...

And the winner is....

Lynda Kaye Frazier!

Congratulations, Lynda! You've won a copy of my book, Once a Good Girl...

Please visit my website: On my Contacts page you'll find my e-mail address. Please e-mail me your mailing address. I'm hoping to receive my author copies next week and with mail one out to you ASAP!

Thanks to everyone who visited me here!