Friday, March 1, 2013

Friday's How She Does It - Danielle Thorne

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?

For me plotting can't happen without knowing who your characters are--the setting, their story problem and how it's all going to end. While some people do write and plot by the seat of their pants, I tend to be a plotter. Understanding the elements of Who, What, When, etc. are necessary before you can put a story together that makes sense. Writing without a plan or purpose rarely works, and even if someone can make that happen, there's a lot wasted time and a great need for careful editing.

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

My characters are based on both real and fictional people who capture my interest with quirky or fascinating personalities. Once I have an idea of a character type, I take it to the archetype board and figure out what kind of personality I'm dealing with so that I make sure their actions and reactions make sense.

Physical description for me, is based on people I may know and admire in bits and pieces. After a few chapters into writing the story, the characters' images become clear. Once I'm able to truly see them in my mind, I go back and make adjustments to descriptions and style.

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?

My characters almost always come before plot. While I may have the general story idea, characters begin the shaping and molding process of what is to come with their personalities. I love characters who are flawed or who make mistakes. Finding our truth path is one of the biggest challenges in both life and literature.

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

I usually have a story plan when I sit down to begin a novel, even if it's not plotted out in detail at that point. Endings are sometimes the greatest surprises, but I do have a general idea of how things will end, even if some of the details surprise me at the finish.

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

My settings are most often places I have visited or lived. I've been fortunate to travel for some of my research. In most cases, I will take a setting I wish to use, and then research and visit an example of such a place to find inspiration and details for my imaginary world.

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

Both. Being a historical writer and using exotic settings, I've found that if I can't be there in person, online is a great way to capture the essence of what I need to provide to the reader. Actual research books are a necessity to acquiring dependable facts and illustrations. I also use the reference section in public libraries to examine photographs, records and documents.

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

I'm definitely a draft writer, writing my first round draft without looking back. If I have questions along the way, I leave notes and symbols to remind myself of things I need to research or double check. I don't worry about typos or punctuation very much in a first draft. It's easily compared to pouring a home's foundation. I lay down the bones and get the story out of me. Each additional edit sets up the framework, windows, hard walls, flooring and roofing. I think of a final edit as a last touch of cleaning and a little additional decorating. J

1 comment:

Melissa Keir said...

I agree with you. The characters have to come first for me too! They drive my story and help put things in place.

Thanks for sharing!