five W's are reporter questions. I have seen authors get all of the W's in the first paragraph. I try to do that, also, because this sets up the story plus the voice of the author. Once the reader is placed in those five W's, he/she is ensconced in the story and set to read. And it's best to have the "draw the reader in line" in the first paragraph, also. I feel this is the hardest paragraph of the whole novel to write.
The "How" is already in the author's head when that difficult first paragraph is written.
First line--Mary jumped from the cliff into the raging river below to escape the man with the gun chasing her.
What--the raging river
Where-from the cliff
Why--to escape the man
I know this is not what you are asking, but essentially all these questions will be answered more thoroughly as we read the novel. And yes, there is your plot. Right smack-dab there. As we read the story we find out more about all the W questions. And the terrible first line I wrote also gives the readers something else. The pull in line that raises questions in the readers mind plus the promise of the story. A thriller adventure no doubt.
1. How do you create your characters? Do you have a specific method?
I don't have a specific method. lol. I wish I did. I like to take odd characters, mix them together, and see how much trouble I can get them into. For instance. In "A Heap of Trouble" I have a sheriff in the old west, a pretty lady he's determined to win, and a troublesome monkey that likes to go around stealing the town's folk valuables. I know most have read western romance, but with a monkey? Rustlers? And a pretty woman that is determined not to get married? Our hero sure has his work cut out for him.
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?
Yep, my characters come before the plot. I'm a pantster hard and true. I've tried sketching out a plot, but it just sits in my computer unread as I write and my characters are forever changing direction anyway.
3. Do you know how the story will end before you begin? In a general way or a specific one?
Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't. My current WIP, I do know how I'm going to end it. A madcap chase on the highway with lots of shooting. Now, that is subject to change as I get closer to the end and a better idea slaps me upside the head. lol.
4. Do you choose settings you know or do you have books of settings and plans of houses sitting around?
I don't have plans sitting around the house. For most, I use settings I know. For some I use general settings that could be Cityanywhere.
5. Where do you do your research? On line or from books?
I research online, or sometimes I go to the person who is knowledgeable about the subject I'm writing about.
6. Are you a draft writer or do you revise as you go along and why?
Again I'm going to have to say a little of both. I write a drafty chapter to get my direction down. Then I go back and revise a little before I start my next chapter. And at times when I'm writing, if I find something should have been mentioned earlier in the book, I'll go back to chapters and insert notes. Like, (hey stupid, put that Claire had red hair and needed crutches to get around in here)
After all, I can't have Clair suddenly be spotted by the villain because of her flaming red hair and not being able to escape because she's been on crutches. Right? Hmm, see in an earlier chapter, I forgot to tell readers she was hugged by an escaped gorilla from the zoo who had a fondness for the color red. I don't want readers scratching their heads and asking, "Now when did Clair get crutches?"
I'll leave you with this question. Who has more fun than writers? We have people fall In love, have wild adventures, and put our husbands as a player in the book and kill him off if they make us angry. A good way to vent. lol.
Thanks so much for putting up with me today.
Let me tell the readers about my western romance/adventure/humor "A Heap of Trouble."
And here is a chapter from the book.