Friday, August 24, 2012
How She Does It - Namoi Bellina
Today's guest is Naomi Bellami talking about how she approaches her stories.
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?
That's a good way to describe it, Janet. The five W questions are important to the story to give it the start and inform readers of the basics. When we start asking How, the marvelous plot begins to unfold.
1. How do you create your characters? Do you have a specific process?
No specific process. I'm fortunate to have a day job that allows me time to let my mind wander occasionally. Great thoughts pop into my head when my hands are busy, which sometime means I'm scribbling furiously when I'm supposed to be working. Don't tell! Many fabulous ideas are hatched and fascinating characters are born at work.
Often, I'll meet someone and we'll be chatting away, and I'm sure they wonder why I'm staring at them so intently. Little do they know, they've just become part of a story.
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?
I usually start with a plot and setting and general idea of the characters, but we all know how that goes! As I'm writing, often another plot will develop, and new individuals will appear, or my original characters turn into someone else entirely. I might have my people doing one thing in my mind, but once I get writing, they turn around and do something else.
3. Do you know how the story will end before you begin? In a general way or a specific one?
Very seldom do I know the ending. How can I, when my characters keep changing my mind? I usually have a general idea for the ending when I begin, but a vague one. Often, I have to rack my brain (sometimes with really strong coffee or a vigorous yoga workout) to come up with an ending that ties everything together. When it happens, I get a little chill. It's a wonderful moment.
4. Do you choose settings you know or do you have books of settings and plans of houses sitting around?
A little of both. For my fantasy stories, it's great fun to make up a world, but I still use elements of places I've seen, either in person or pictures. For contemporary stories, I tend to stick with areas I've been to, so I can describe the place accurately. The smell and feel of a setting are important to me. Lately, I'm writing about autumn. Maybe because I'm good and ready for summer to end! Lately I've been playing on Pinterest. Boy is that fun to use, to put together pictures for my stories.
5. Where do you do your research? On line or from books?
Isn't the Internet wonderful? I can do so much research there. Nothing beats a good book for illustrations, though, and I love browsing at the library. My current WIP takes place partly in Las Vegas, where I've been twice. I'm trying to talk my honey into a return trip. No luck, so far. My dream is to make enough money writing so I can travel for research, and write it off on my taxes.
6. Are you a draft writer or do you revise as you go along and why?
Oh, that's a tricky area for me. I'm trying to keep from over revising and just getting the draft down first. Here's what I've come up with lately, and so far it's working out well. When I sit down to write, I only allow myself to go over the last section that I wrote, and make minor edits. I resist the urge to start from the beginning and edit. I've found if I do that, by the time I get to the end of the previous day's work, my allotted time for writing is almost over, and there are no new words on the page. Writing and editing are two separate processes.
Thank you for having me as your guest, Janet, and thank you readers for allowing me to share a little of myself. I hope you enjoy the excerpt tomorrow.