Friday, December 7, 2012

Friday - How She Does It - Tanya Goodwin

Tanya Goodwin is a member of Hudson Valley Romance Writers and is a newly published author,

I’m so glad Janet has invited me to guest blog. I’m Tanya Goodwin and I write under the same name. My debut novel, If Memory Serves, a romantic suspense with police procedural and medical elements, was released in September 2012 by Mitchell Morris Publishing. I enjoy writing suspense and mystery, always with a medical edge, which comes in handy because I’m also a physician. My new venture is holiday medical romances. An Evergreen Christmas is the first one in this series. You can find me at and

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?

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

First, I think about whom I’m going to throw into situations. My basic plot outline drives me to create characters. I assign them an occupation and this in turn gives them an appropriate age range. I think about what their day is like, who and how they interact with others and their environment, their strengths and weaknesses, and decisions they make and the consequences that follow. I consider what they like, love, dislike, or outright hate. I have no particular formula. Sometimes I write character profiles, and sometimes I keep them tucked in my head. It’s different with each book I write.

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 first start with a premise and basic plot. I let these simmer in my head. Then I decide whom I’m going to place in this framework. I make some basic notes about my plot/subplot. Sometimes I write a brief synopsis to keep me on track. The characters then interact in my plot, growing and changing as the plot develops. Editing and revisions further mold my characters.

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

For my suspense and mystery novels, I need to know how these stories end. I need to know, in general, where I’m going to weave in twists or clues. That’s not to say that I’ve never added to the plot or even removed elements that didn’t work.

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

Many settings just come to me. Most are places that I’m familiar with, and if not, I really enjoy the process of learning about other places, both in location and in time.

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

I’ve done research from both. For online research, I make sure that other sources agree. I also interview professionals or people like my characters. In If Memory Serves, I spoke to police officers and detectives regarding police procedures. I’ve read biographies and historical books when writing about a time period and historical people that appear in my book.

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

I write a draft, but everyday that I start off fresh in my writing, I reread what I wrote and revise mainly for grammar or any glaring inconsistencies. This, however, is no substitute for several rounds of revision after the draft is complete.

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