Friday, August 17, 2012

Friday - How She Does It - Jamie Hill

Today's guest is Jamie Hill, talking about How She Does It.

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 really thought about it in this manner. I'd originally intended to major in Journalism and worked on both my high school and college newspapers, so I'm very familiar with the 5 W's and How. Applying them to fiction is a new twist for me. But it's very logical, and on closer examination I do answer all these questions when I lay out the rough draft for my novels. It's all part of the planning process.

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

My characters start with appearance. I picture how they look in my mind. As aspects of their personalities come out, I make notes. I'm not strict about this because they change as the story flows, but it's how I start. Usually I have characteristics in mind but sometimes the characters change as I write, which is interesting.

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?

Characters definitely come before plot, but I have to admit I have an idea in mind when the characters are formed. A one sentence "tag line", if you will, which describes the plot in brief. When I was starting out, I had some publishers who required a synopsis of a story before accepting it. I hated writing those. It seemed to boil my story down to two or three lifeless pages, the bare bones without the good stuff. These days I don't write a synopsis but an outline of basic plot points is sometimes helpful.

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

I do know, but only in a general way. As I write my stories often take twists and turns, so sometimes the ending changes. I always have happy endings, so that part's a given. But with my romantic suspense, I like to throw red herrings out right up until the end to keep the reader guessing.

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

I usually choose a setting I know but many of my short stories are set in big cities, and I just fudge the details. If something is important I'll research it, of course, but I don’t sweat the little stuff. I've also found using a fictional town makes it so much easier, then I can create street names and businesses and don't have to worry about accuracy!

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

Online tools are wonderful. I remember the days when we had to visit the library for research, and my family owned a set of encyclopedias which stopped just before Kennedy was assassinated. (Good for some purposes, not so great for others!) I find everything I need online these days. I've also asked people I know who live in different places for details that helped me with settings.

6. Are you a draft writer or do you revise as you go along and why?

I can't stand to write drafts. I revise as I go along, so much so that my first draft is always very clean. It's just what works best for me.

Thanks so much for hosting me today! Readers are invited to visit my website at I'm also one half of the publishing team behind Books We Love:


Unknown said...

Very interesting post, Jamie. Since I loved the your books, it's great to know how they were born. :)

Ann Herrick said...

It's fun to see how other writers work! I do my first draft to see exactly how the story is going to "turn out," then revise and rewrite. :)

BWL Publishing Inc. said...

Thanks for having me Janet, and thanks for stopping by Ginger and Ann! Appreciate it.

I can't stand to draft write, I just have to stop and correct as I go. LOL


Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Jamie,
Great blog. I don't like writing a draft either. I just go for it, and correct and punctuate later after the story is written.



Gianna Simone said...

Don't think I ever mentioned this since connecting with you at BWL, but I remember first reading your books way back in 2006/2007 with LoveStruck! :)

It's nice to hear about your process, in some ways similar to mine, though you are way more disciplined and I admire that so much.

I love the new world of publishing - for the most part, no more synopsis! A blurb of a couple paragraphs is way less stressful! :)