Thursday, April 25, 2013

Friday's How She Does It featuring Melissa Keir

We all know there are six elements of fiction. Who, What, When, Where, Why and How. I believe the first five lead to the sixth which for me is plot. What's your take on this> Thank you for having me visit Janet. I think that the six elements of fiction are so closely intertwined. The first five lead to plot and a better story!


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

My characters are a mixture of people I know and people I've witnessed in life. To me, I love to people watch. There is nothing better than seeing people about at a mall or at a job and wondering about their stories. I feel that the characters are very important and usually have a picture of who they are in my head. For example, in my Wilder Sisters series, I have five girls who left their small town after graduation. I am the oldest of five girls in my family. So I have a lot of knowledge about the interactions between siblings and what it is to grow up in a small town. However, the five girls are not me or my sisters. I wanted these girls to be women I'd love to hang out with or be friends with. You know... the kind you can call up and go shopping with. They are all struggling with how to balance their wants with their needs in a complex world that we live in.

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?

Each story is different. Sometimes I have the plot first and other times, the characters lead the show. I love that each story can be different. In Beach Desires, I knew the main characters but I didn't know where the story was going to go. In fact, I rewrote the ending a few times. But for A Christmas Miracle, I had the whole plot planned out and then the story was fleshed out. I am by definition a plotter. I don't write out my plots or character descriptions but I do have a bunch of story ideas and interesting facts written down so that I can use them when they work into a story.

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

I mostly know how the story will end. I want my stories to end with a Happily Ever After, but sometimes the story surprises me. When I was writing Protecting His Wolfe, I knew who the bad guy was but I didn't see all the other twists and turns. It surprised me when someone else stepped up and did some bad things! Of course the reason made sense but it was a shock.

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

I love to choose setting of places that I know. One of my hopes is that readers will fall in love with these places as much as I do. The Wilder Sisters series takes place in my hometown. It's the place I grew up and my family still lives there. I moved a long time ago but still consider Amherst, the home of my heart. Small towns have such a unique feel to them. Everyone is aware of what everyone else is doing and there's a nice sense of community. I only hope that I do these places justice with my stories.

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

I do most of my research online but sometimes a book is certainly the best choice. I'm open to whatever I need or what works.

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

I always revise as I go along. Since I have a day job, I don't always get a chance to sit and write in long periods of time. So I have to go back and re-read what I've already written so that I can pick up where I've left off. This lends itself to editing as I go. I actually enjoy this process. I can always find something that I need to correct or make more clear. Since my muse loves to talk to me while I'm driving to and from work, coming home to my manuscript is a great time to revise!


Melissa Keir said...

Thank you for having me! :)

D'Ann said...

Nice interview! I'm also a small town girl, and the eldest of three sisters!

Unknown said...
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Unknown said...

Oh Ms. Mel. You've done it again. Very nice interview. I didn't know you were a plotter! That's funny, I consider you a friend by now and I'm a panster!

Who knew the two could get along, eh? It's kinda like Cats & Dogs living togeth...*turns and eyes the five cats and one dog in her house.* Never mind. *winks*

Janet Lane Walters said...

Melissa, Glad to have you here. You are the best commentator I have. I'm also a plotter and use Astrology to develop my characters.

Vicki Batman, sassy writer said...

Hi, Melissa! It's always so interesting to know how other writers "get 'er done." Congratulations on your book and thank you ladies for sharing!

Melissa Keir said...

Thanks everyone!

@D'Ann- isn't sisterly dynamics fun?

@Margaret-It must be fate that brought us together! :)

@JL- Astrology sounds like a fun way to do characters!

@Vicki- Thanks for the kind words. It is funny how we all do it and yet it works for each of us!