Friday, October 19, 2012

Friday's How She Does It -- Jordan K. Rose

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 absolutely agree with you. My writing is always character driven which completely impacts the how. It also impacts all the other elements. Certain characters would just never be in certain situation or places or time. It's interesting to think about mixing different heroines into stories. In Perpetual Light, Lucia is a reincarnated vampire slayer with divine powers. Eva Prim, my current work is a vampire and she's very self-centered. If I tried to swap heroines, Perpetual Light would be ruined. Both these ladies have very different perspectives on the world. Their "hows" would never be interchangeable.

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

I don't have a specific process. Usually what comes to me is the character's main objective. From there I learn about who each character is and what they like/dislike/need/want/where they're from. I learn a lot about each character and think I know most all there is to know but of course, when I write they tell me more about themselves and edits happen and story lines change. Lucia's main objective was to find the husband who'd been stolen from her and made vampire four hundred years ago. When I originally wrote Perpetual Light I thought that was the main story. It wasn't until I'd completed the first draft that I realized she was a vampire slayer destined to kill him.

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?

The characters always come before the plot. I never have an idea for what could happen without a character in mind. It's almost as though this person pops up with a problem or idea and sort of whispers in my ear until I pay attention. I don't plot. I let the characters determine the route of the story. I typically have an idea of where the story is going to land, but no real knowledge of how we'll get there or what might happen on the way. I love to be surprised by where the story goes.

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

Sort of. For example, I knew Lucia's story would end with a happy for now ending because it's the first in a series, but I didn't know how we'd get to that end. I only recently figured out how the series might end, but again, I have no idea how we'll get to that ending. (Though I'll admit I'm feeling happy about finally knowing the potential series end.)

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

I usually choose settings familiar to me. However, in my current work my story is unfolding on Mt. Katahdin in Maine. I've never been there and don't really enjoy cold weather or snow so this is a situation where I'm doing quite a bit of research to understand the location. In terms of buildings and layout I use the internet and search for pictures that seem to fit the story.

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

On line mostly, but I do use books, too. I have a great library of vampire books.

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

I do a little bit of both. I have multiple drafts that have been revised and revised as I go. I like to read the previous day's work before starting on new work which leads me to edit, edit, edit.


Renee Field said...

My writing is very much character driven but there is always an overriding plot.I love to plan out my books and I'm currently working on my first contemporary romantic fiction. Such fun.

Anonymous said...

Hi Renee. Thanks for stopping by. I don't plot, don't try to plot, don't even think about tricking myself into doing it. It just doesn't work for me. I have tried and I ended up not writing the book. Without any doubt- I am a pantser! Good luck with your new book. Jordan

Louann Carroll said...

Hi, Jordan! Great blog. I write about things I'm familiar with or about subjects I love. That makes research a snap. However, I can get lost and end up forgetting to write.

Penny said...

Hi Jordan,
Ive been letting my character take over and drive the plot. I'm about 3/4 done. Its quite different than your first reading of it. I just need to figure out why im so stalled. Had that ever happened to you?
Best wishes on your newest!

Anonymous said...

Hi Louann. I can get lost in research, too. And when I ever catch myself I still can't always force myself back to writing. Sometimes it's too interesting!

Hi there, Reviewer. Yes, sometimes my characters go off on tangents and I'm forced to pull them back. There have been times when I've written something and thought it was flowing along nicely only to end up stuck or stalled by a runaway character or idea. I've had to delete scenes and redirect the story. And painful as it is, it works out much better.

Thank yo both for coming by and happy writing! Jordan

Anonymous said...

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Unknown said...

Jordan, I loved your interview. It's always interesting to hear how writers write and do research. Good luck to you!! Kate Lutter

Anonymous said...

Hi Kate. Thanks for stopping by! I'm always interested in everyone else's process, too. Everyone is unique. Happy writing. Jordan