Friday, April 13, 2012

How She Does It - Annette Bower

Thank you Janet for having me as a guest on your blog today talking about the
sixth aspect of a story plot.

1. How do you create your characters?
A theme for my story will find me through the news or through an interview with
someone. I slowly consider the strengths and weaknesses characters need to be in
a similar situation. And then I consider the journey the characters have taken
in their lives to be where they are today. Finally, I consider the events which
will happen for them to grow into the next phase of their lives. All of these
events may include a happy ever after or it may be a happy for now ending.

2. Do you have a specific process?
After I have an idea for my theme and characters, I begin saving images from
magazines, newspaper and online articles for the external appearance. I will
refresh my memory about faces and what the shape of a mouth might suggest, the
lines around eyes, even a nose and eyebrows can suggest a person’s past. Then I
step back and look at their body shape. Then I name my character. I will
research with a book similar to The Hidden Truth of Your Name and chose a name
that will help define my character. Many years ago an English professor gave
specific examples of how characters became their names. Then I build a past,
(who named the character) and present (how they are growing into their name) and
then the hopes for the future (are they their name or do they change it?). I use
books similar to Dynamic Characters by Nancy Kress to remind myself about the
different levels necessary to build a character.

3. Do characters come before the plot?
I develop character and plot at the same time. I’m a pantser writer rather than
a plotter. I know there must be certain points in the story where crisis happens
and then resolution and growth, just as in real life. I’ve read and heard at
workshops that if I plot I could write faster and perhaps as I mature as a
writer I will be able to detect ways of plotting the ups and downs rather than
having the characters interaction determine the turning points.

4. Do you know how the story will end before you begin? In a general way or a
specific one?
Because I write romance I know that love is the very important aspect of the
story. I also like love to be important and therefore I like to write toward a
happy ever after or a happy for now ending. Even though some people may view
falling in love as a fairytale, I believe that love is more than just a
fairytale but it also is a reality most people strive for.

5. Do you choose settings you know or do you have books of settings and plans
of houses sitting around?
In my short stories and in this novel, Moving On A Prairie Romance I have
chosen settings which are familiar to me. I have, of course, used a compilation
of houses and furnishings. I do cut out photographs of rooms from magazines that
I think would suite my characters and I use the color ideas. My settings are
simple with minimal description and hopefully with just enough information that
readers can easily access setting.

6. Where do you do your research?I have a number of books that I have acquired
over my years.

I like my book on Body Language, I like my books that describe family dynamics
and social structures. I have to conclude that for the general research I use
books, magazines and newspapers but if there are specifics, for example a
description of specific style and textures of clothing or upholstery, or type of
food, or car then I use the internet. For example, just today will searching for
a blog page name I came across a study which states that a woman walks can
indicate how she is in the bedroom. This type of information is invaluable even
if I never mention it to the reader but I know it and can use it.

Please contact me if you require any further information.
My web page is below,
As well as two places to purchase the book.

Annette Bower
Author of Moving On A Prairie Romance!/pages/Annette-Bower-XOXO-Publishing-Author/378438088839629


Karyn Good said...

Hi Annette and Janet. I enjoyed reading about your process. Interesting that you come up with the name and weave how they grow into that name in the story. I've never really considered how characters become their names. That's an a level of character building I haven't considered besides trying to pick an interesting name.

Annette said...

Hello Karyn,

That is why I think naming is so crucial to family and characters.
You will have to try your own little experiment and check out if your friends, family and characters are their names. That is why nicknames are interesting as well.
Thank you for reading and commenting on "How She Does It"
Yours truly,
Annette Bower