Friday, November 16, 2012

Friday's How She Does It featuring Barbara Edwards


Welcome guest Barbara Edwards. She's telling us how she approaches a story.
Janet: 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?


Barbara: In my opinion, plot is more important. A good plot is the starting point for character building, emotional tension and suspense. The plot is a curve that draws you from the starting point upwards. Building the story with details, you reach the crisis and fall to the conclusion. I regard the plot as weaving all the separate strands of my story into a tight braid.



Janet: How do you create your characters? Do you have a specific process?

Barbara: My initial characters appear in my dreams. Building my characters is like getting to know a new friend. Their first scene is our introduction. I learn about them as I write. Ancient Awakening, my paranormal romance, began with a nightmare about the cemetery next to the house where I grew up.

As to process, unlike many writers, I use a book bible instead of character sheets. I record the details as I go rather than coldly describing each detail ahead of time. I did try that. I found my style doesn’t work that way.



Janet: 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?

Barbara: I guess you’re asking if I’m a plotter or a pantster, I’m definitely a pantster. It makes me laugh to remember when I first became serious about writing. I thought all the pundits knew more than me and I should use their methods. Outlining? Character sheets? I tried it all and found it slowed my writing to a crawl.

I need to allow my muse to create as I write. It works for me. When I begin, I know my first scene and I know how the plot will resolve. The rest needs to be filled in.



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

Barbara: I start a story after a vivid dream about the opening scene. I know at that time how the plot will resolve. It’s not something I could share. It’s the way my mind and imagination work. That knowing has worked for me.



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

Barbara: My paranormal series is set in New England. I grew up in a small town very similar to my Rhodes End village. I like writing what I find familiar: ghosts, werewolves, vampires and eccentric people.

One of my Historical romances: Annie’s Heart, is set in Kansas and I had to do research to find details about the place. By the way, my belief in reincarnation was reinforced a few years ago when we visited the local at the Fort in Kansas. I had many details right although I never read them anywhere.



Janet: Where do you do your research? On line or from books?

Barbara: Whew! All over. I have a terrific memory for details and can recall facts I learned years ago. I do interview people. I like reading so I do a lot in books from the library. I’m learning to use the internet more although it can be difficult to verify anything I question. Any historian will tell you to have three sources before believing anything.



Janet: Are you a draft writer or do you revise as you go along and why?

Barbara: I revise as I go. My method is to open where I started the day before and edit those pages. It puts me back into my mindset and I can just continue forward. That doesn’t mean I don’t need final edits because I do.

I’ve tried several different methods and always go back to this since it works for me.



Thank you for having me as your guest, Janet.



Please visit me, friend me, tweet or follow at these places. I love to hear from you.

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Email: author@barbaraedwards.net



1 comment:

maeclair.net said...

Great interview, Ladies! It's always interesting seeing how another author works. I can relate to many of the things you said Barbara. I start with an initial scene, know how the book will resolve and have to discover the rest as I go along. Making detailed notes ahead of time seems to inhibit my creativity although I will jot a few for reference.

I love reading books set in small New England towns, especially paranormal stories. The two seem to mesh very well! :)