Friday, February 3, 2012

How She Does It - Janice Seagraves

Hi everyone, my name is Janice Seagraves. I’m a romance writer.

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’m a panster. My stories are character driven rather than plot driven. I go where my characters lead with slight nudges from me.

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

I write rather organically. My characters come to me in dreams or flashes and then I start writing. Sometimes my muse sends me just a short scene or sometimes an entire chapter. Then as I write my characters tell me who they are.

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?

It depends on the story. In Windswept Shores I had this idea for quite a while about a couple who find themselves on a deserted island and struggling to survive. I did a lot of research to find where my island should be located. Then I realized the Bahamas would be the perfect place and started writing.

I did a very scientific way of finding the names for my characters—I asked my then teenage daughter who told me Megan and Seth. Teens know all the best names. *grin*

As I wrote my story I learned who my characters were. Megan was easy; she’s from California like me. Seth on the other hand is from Australia and I had to learn how to write his accent which took time, but once I had it down his personality—popped—into existence.

Then Megan didn’t know what he’d say next, and to tell you the truth neither did I.

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

Each story is different. Sometimes I do have a vague idea how the story will go and sometimes I don’t, not until I reach the end.

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

Windswept Shores is set in the Bahamas. I’ve never been to the Bahamas in my life so I had a whole lot of research to do, but I like research so that wasn’t a problem.

My couple is on a deserted island and they’re basically camping. I’ve been to the beach and I’ve been camping since I was a baby, so I’m well suited to writing that part, no problem.

My editor has been to the Bahamas and said she felt like she was there when she read my book, so I guess I did alright.

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

Both actually. You can’t always trust what you find online so I also use books to cross reference what I look up.


Windswept Shores, now available from Pink petal books.


LKF said...

I find the best way to write is almost like you, through character development. My story started as a dream and that dream ended up being chapter 17. Loved your interview,your story and can't wait to read more from you.

Janice Seagraves said...

Thank you J.L. for having me today.


Thank you. Yes, my stories are developed through a dream I had and through my characters.