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. I usually know the WHO, WHAT, WHEN, and WHERE right off the bat… the WHY and the HOW are the creative part, where I get to dive into the deep, dark corners of my mind and see what scary things I can find.
1. How do you create your characters? Do you have a specific process?
I usually begin with a basic idea of each character and paint an overall visual image; but my characters don’t really come alive until the story progresses. I spend a great deal of time during the re-writing process going back and adding in character traits and overall depth.
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 main characters are always alive before the plot… but the plot brings out their idiosyncrasies in persona. I may have an idea of where the story will lead, but I never outline it or plot its course. It is more natural for me to allow the characters themselves to play out the scene. Sometimes I am amazed at where it leads and I have to take my fingers off the keyboard and ask myself, “Is that where I really want the story to go?”
In the “Just Call Me Angel” series, which currently consists of three novels (Tetterbaum’s Truth, Traitors Among Us, Russian Uprising), there are many moments when I gasp at what I have just typed and think, “Wow, I did not see that coming!” It is my hope that my readers feel the same.
3. Do you know how the story will end before you begin?
In a general way or a specific one? I usually have no idea where the story will end. Sometimes I have a general thought about where the story is headed, but it always ends up twisting and turning… so now, I just sit back and enjoy the ride.
4. Do you choose settings you know or do you have books of settings and plans of houses sitting around?
Thus far, I have chosen settings that are familiar to me. Missouri, Kansas, Colorado and Chicago. I find it is easier to visualize the places I have been, thus, lending itself to a deeper, more real description for the reader.
5. Where do you do your research? On line or from books?
Almost all my research is done on-line or in actually visiting a location and taking pictures of it. I rarely use books for research.