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''ve never heard it put that way before, but I like it. I'm a plotter so it speaks to me.
1. How do you create your characters? Do you have a specific process?
As I mentioned, I'm a plotter so I'll often get an idea for a plot and people it with characters who will benefit most from the plot. Once Ive done that it becomes very real for me and its hard if the editor wants me to shift motivations. My heroine in Her Baby, His Proposal did argue with me about her name. She started out as Michelle, but she just fought me so I had to change her to Jesse. Michelle finally found her story in my new story The Sheriffs Doorstep Baby.
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?
Oops, Im out of order. The idea comes first, which is usually the plot, but I do have a process I follow. I have a critique group that has evolved into a plotting group. I bring my idea and we brainstorm and I basically build my character and plot at the same time. Then I go home let it all percolate and start writing. Once Ive started putting fingers to keys, the characters take over and they drive the story from there.
3. Do you know how the story will end before you begin? In a general way or a specific one?
I know how my story will end but I dont always know the exact scene for the end. I actually prefer it when I do know how itll end. I have a road map from my plotting session, and its fun to take side trips but it keeps me focused if I have that end scene in mind. In Flirting With Fireworks I absolutely knew Jared was going to take Cherry to the top of the Ferris wheel. Loved that scene. And then there is the diamond moment of writing when the perfect scene comes to you. Which happened with the tree house scene in The Sheriffs Doorstep Baby.
4. Do you choose settings you know or do you have books of settings and plans of houses sitting around?
Dont you know? A writer is also a travel agent, an architect, a history teacher, a doctor. Anything youve ever wanted to be, heres your chance. And yes, I do draw house plans and occasionally city plans when Ive made up a town. Mostly I write about places I know, but I live in San Diego county which stretches from the mountains to the sea and offers many different locales, so Im lucky that way. Its easiest to write about what and where you know, but with the internet, and a good map, you can make any place familiar. In the Bosss Surprise Son I took Rick and Savannah to London. I really worried about the authenticity of that because my editors are in London, but they didnt change a thing. Whew. And now, I really want to go to England!
5. Where do you do your research? On line or from books?
I keep getting ahead of myself. Most of my research is done online. I rarely delve into books for research. But do like a good map. Usually one geared toward tourists because it includes points of interest. And I have great resources in my critique partners, a registered nurse, a history teacher, a caterer with a psych major, and a woman who has done everything from drive a lunch truck, to policewoman, to film reviewer. Ive got banking and real estate covered, so were a well-rounded crowd.
6. Are you a draft writer or do you revise as you go along and why?
I revise as I go along. And then do a final draft. I still work full time and I write at lunch, so part of my routine is to rework what I write at lunch before dropping it into the current work and then I read back over what I wrote the day before and what I reworked before moving forward. I have a specific number of pages I need to write each day and I stick to that pretty religiously. Writing is a very personal experience and we all have to find our own rhythm and this is working for me.