Friday, May 31, 2013

Friday's How She Does It featuring Rita Karnopp #amlearning

We all know there are six elements in writing fiction Who, What, Where, When, 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 so agree. A plot must be original, challenge the reader, be exciting, paced so the reader has a chance to breathe, not too complex or shallow, add that suspension of disbelief, create just enough subplots, have logical sequence, the premise should be compelling, and finally make that conclusion satisfying.

1.How do you create your characters? Do you have a special system? I love this question, because without exciting, complex and even flawed characters – you don’t have a story. I start by thinking about a plot, since this is the driving force of any book. I think about what characters would manipulate, influence, and even motivate the plot best. What hero and heroine can I create that are total opposites in this scenario and how can I put them together, even if they hate each other, to pull together for a common cause? Soon – my story takes off – the characters start reacting . . . and soon my conflict it driving the story forward . . . next thing I know . . . I’m typing, ‘the end.’

2. Do your characters come before your plot? Do you sketch out your plot or do you let your characters develop the route to the end? I’ve kind of answered that in the above question, but let me say this, both have to be exciting and fresh. You might consider an old plot – but the characters and situation must be updated and twisted so it reads as new and inspiring. It’s rare that I have characters first . . . but just recently I did think about a heroine that just haunted me . . . and I wondered how I could develop a plot she would work in . . . which I have. Most times I will have my plot first and develop my characters to handle the plot.

As for the second part of this question, I do sketch-out parts of the plot. I have an idea where the beginning, middle and end are. But it’s rare I stick to it . . . because my characters have minds of their own – and they write the dialog and their actions. I just type! My endings develop . . . and most times even surprise me. When writing Kidnapped, I was typing the court scene at the end . . . I had tears running down my face – because I felt the couple’s desperation . . . the ending wrote itself . . . and I have to say . . . my characters didn’t disappoint me.

3. Do you know how the story will end before you begin? In a general or a specific way? I’m always stepping on the toes of the question above. I have a good idea of what I want my ending to be . . . but getting there surprises me! I want nothing more than to make it exciting and twisting enough to either surprise the reader . . . or make sure it’s more than just satisfying. If you’re not moved when writing those last few pages . . . set it aside and re-read it in a few days … and … rewrite it until it’s moving. I can’t truly say that has happened to me . . . but the writer MUST find the ending surprising and satisfying . . . or your reader will never feel it either.

4. Do you choose settings you know or do you have books of settings and plans of houses on your book shelf? I choose settings when the inspiration hits me. I never steer clear of any given setting or subject – if I’m inspired – I know I can create a gripping or moving story around it. I have a basket that I toss ideas into as they come to me. To be honest, I have more ideas than I have time to write. Seems like as I’m writing a book – or series – an idea for my next work comes to me and starts intruding into my current work in progress. It’s annoying – but it keeps me excited and writing. I have to be honest, I have never dipped into my ‘ideas basket’ . . . because I always come up with a plot before it’s time to start a new book. I can’t imagine what it would be like to – wonder what my next book is going to be about.

5. Where do you do your research? From books you won, the library or the internet? I love stretching myself and going outside my comfort zone. I just finished my Tango of Death series, taking place in 1943 Poland/Germany involving the gypsies during the Holocaust. White Berry on the Red Willow takes place in the future – but goes back to the old ways of the Native American, and then I have my 1800s Native American historicals, plus my thrillers taking place at ghost towns in Montana. I have an incredible library … dog-eared to be sure – of books about the 1800s. I have many books on the Gypsies, plus a library of books and documentaries about the Holocaust. And now we are blessed with endless information available online. I tap into it all.

6. Are you a draft writer or do you revise as you go along? My very first book I did a color-coded index card plotting – draft of the book. It showed me pacing and the even-distribution of the hero/heroine/villain. It was a lot of work . . . but helped me develop a feel for the flow of a book. . After that first book, I never went there again. I now have an idea for the beginning – middle – and end . . . and start writing . . . and keep it going until I type ‘the end.’


Melissa Keir said...

I always love hearing how other people plan and write! Thanks!

Rita Karnopp said...

You're welcome, Melissa . . . thanks for commenting. :) Rita