Friday, December 14, 2012

Friday's How She Does It With Karen Wiesner #amlearning

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 agree with this, though I’ve never put it in these terms before. I usually put it this way (arrows mean “leads to”):

Introduction of Character and Plot à Change à Conflicts

à Choices à Crisis à Resolutions

I believe all authors should simplify these elements into a single sentence (or a very few short sentences) before they write a book because this is really the jumping off point of the book. At the core, this is the main theme of the entire project, and if the author neglects to lock these elements down before writing the book, she may miss the mark and readers will end up confused and uncertain.

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

Through brainstorming, outlining, writing and revising. These are four crucial layers that make characters real and believable.

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 always outline every single book, regardless of the size. Characters develop through the process of outlining, but I believe that characters themselves also develop the plot. While I like to say I’m a character-driven author, in truth the ideal author is character, plot, and setting driven. Without the cohesion of those three, your books can never be truly fulfilling to readers.

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

I only know because I outline the book in advance of writing it. Generally a book comes to life as I brainstorm and outline and then further as I write.

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

I have a tendency to make up my own settings, especially in mysteries, where sometimes a writer can get herself in hot water if she messes up some law or details specific to a state. I love creating my own loveable little towns and filling them with my characters.

5. Where do you do your research? Online or from books?

Both, depending on the research involved. I’ve also been known to interview someone in a particular field to get the inside scoop.

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

Never, never, never. That’s like a cardinal sin to me. Until you give yourself distance from a project, you can’t see it clearly. If you’re revising constantly, you’ll never get distance and therefore you can’t come into a project from that necessary distance.



Diane Craver said...

Hi Karen,

Even though I knew a lot about your writing process, it was nice to read your answers to Janet's great questions. It's always fun to learn more how an accomplished author of so many award-winning books approaches writing her books.

cky15 said...

cky15: writing is a talent that some have. All of the elements that you did talk about is important. To be able to have a good story which some one likes is a big plus because you share the books that are good. Pass the word around on a book helps the authors. I sure like reading what you had metion.

Marianne Stephens said...

I'm a "sorta" outline writer outline consists of just a list of sentences for me to follow through the story. For nonfiction, my outline is more extensive.

Love your answer about revising. Some people do more revising than continuing with the book...and never finish.