Friday, January 4, 2013

Friday's How She Does It with Skhye Moncrief #fantasy, #sci-fi, #paranormal

Though Skhye and I have never met, I belong to one of her Triberr groups.

1. I believe 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 wholeheartedly since being forced to write a proposal a long time ago. I suddenly realized writing by the seat of my pants was taking too much effort. I also have always written with a quasi-plot in my head. The problem is I’m too lazy to write it down, or I’d have been an obsessive plotter from the start. Even answering the barest basics for external and internal story conflict has me writing a stronger story from the first line and from the first draft. I rarely have to edit much in goals, motivation, and conflict—those being the plot holes in my work. Now fact…That’s a different ballgame. I’m a factoid reader. So, for me, writing paranormal, sci-fi, and fantasy help me skirt the overwhelming obligation I feel to stick with facts in straight contemporary or historical fiction. So, you won’t find me doing anything but world building with a paranormal, sci-fi, of fantasy bent. Well, my brain won’t stay there. It wants to play with things—the rabble rouser!

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

I find that I just write the story after grasping the basic points mentioned in my previous answer. I usually have a character burst out of page one like a bull rider out of the stall. But that doesn’t always go as planned because I don’t want to write anything like a proposal/outline. I’m extremely lazy. So, I have learned to just write until my character is bugging me and then revise what I’ve written. This kind of writing results in an extremely solid front end of a story. I rarely write a synopsis these days. That would be after I’ve written the story. My critique partners report whether or not they connected with a character. If they didn’t, I have to go check with a synopsis and diagnose the character’s GMC (goals, motivation, and conflict). Usually the problem is that I didn’t state it at the story’s opening. Honestly, I think this type of lazy writing (LOL) results from years of writing and reflects that my subconscious is now working in my favor when I write a story. In other words, anyone can learn/be taught to write. Storytelling isn’t a gift. Neither is learning to speak or read. But you have to pay attention to the audience to learn what gets the reaction you’re looking for. Then you focus on what results in that reaction to write more stores…

3. 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?

No. Characters make a story. I learned that in 2003 at a writing conference in California from Bob Mayer who doesn’t write romance! So, I bought into the Joseph Campbell’s metaphysical moment—the idea that story is about a character rising to a challenge and uniting with a group (no matter the size of that group) by doing something selfless. Even if it’s for love of a mate. So, my characters must work toward the few plot points I have in mind when setting off down the writing path. This is all mental for me. I just have a few turning points in mind (the actual scenes and character behavior/reactions) to go with when I steer those wily and unruly cats toward story obstacles!

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

Only if I’ve already envisioned that particular part of the plot before writing. See, I really only plot part of a story…I’m too impatient to do more. I just want to write.

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

I create settings or draw from the good old memory box. I’ve studied so much with anthropology that I have quite a reservoir of information stored away to tap into.

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

I prefer to research with books because I like to WRITE in them!!! I know. It’s sacrilegious. But I can’t break that habit after grad school. I lose my mind when I can’t find something I know is in a book—something crucial for the factoid reader that I am. However, sometimes an online search solves a problem quickly. Especially if you need a picture of a specific type of jewelry. I’ve just learned that finding what I need online isn’t always easy. That said, I’m really good with search parameters. So, because I’m so lazy, I’d rather just grab a book and flip through the pages. Online research wears me out.

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

I do revise as I go along because of world building. I find one little epiphany or change in a character while writing the story at any point during the process requires I go back and tweak everything. This results in one solid piece when writing THE END. I’m lazy. I don’t want to work too hard after writing THE END. As I’ve said before, this isn’t something I’d recommend the newbie writer to do. Be careful and listen to timeless advice. Don’t think your work is perfect. If mine was, I wouldn’t have to revise at all! But my story pacing seems to be internal now. My brain just makes a book so long. I don’t. It’s my subconscious working to lay down the tracks from all the rules I’ve beat into memory. And the romantic growth, that’s second nature in writing too. I have found that when I get bored with a story, it’s because I’ve forgotten romantic growth and strayed from the path of a story’s plot. A wip then requires a bit of surgery! I don’t wait until I write THE END to set bones or stitch a wound. No. I drop everything and fix the story. ;P

Thanks for raking me over the coals, Janet! ~Skhye

Skhye online


Skhye Moncrief said...

Thanks for the interview, Janet! HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Hywela Lyn said...

Great interview ladies - happy New Year to you both!

Anna Kathryn Lanier said...

Hi, Skhye. I love learning how other people write. Thanks for sharing. How's the weather down under? Freezing here back at home!