Friday, January 31, 2014

Friday's How She Does It featuring Tara Andrews

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?
I do agree fiction has all those elements.  I think of them more in terms of goals, motivation, and conflict.  In a similar way, they lead me to the Who, What, When, Where, and Why.  From there I get the How – the plot, which always comes last for me.
1. How do you create your characters? Do you have a specific method?
I wouldn’t say I have a specific method.  I’ve used a couple.  For the most part, I think of my characters reacting to a situation and form an impression of them pretty quickly.  The specifics though, the reasons they are the way they are, come as I begin writing.  If I need more from them, I have had my hero and heroine answer some questions.  But rather than my interviewing them, I set up a mock first date.  I found some interesting first date questions on an online dating website which help me figure them out.
2. Do your characters come before the plot?
Always!  On a rare occasion, it may be the theme of the story, but I’m driven by the characters.
3. Do you know how the story will end before you begin? In a general way or a specific one?
I’m almost all panster when it comes to writing.  The endings always a surprise.  I was once told by a very wise author (e-hem), of course you know how it ends – it’s a romance, they wind up together.  Or something to that affect. J  When I’m stuck I keep that in mind.  
4. Do you choose settings you know or do you have books of settings and plans of houses sitting around?
Out of everything, I think setting is the hardest for me, but I don’t let it limit where my stories take place.  I’m sure along the way I’ve purchased a book or two that would help, but Google Images has become my go to resource for a quick visual.  From aerial shots of Area 51 or the floor plan of a Las Vegas casino, I usually find what I am looking for.
5. Where do you do your research? On line or from books?
I use online resources a great deal.  I’m amazed at what you can find answers to there.  But, when I need a lot of information on a single topic, I do hit the books.  I’ve collected a funny mix of books over time, like Physics for Dummies, on Investing, and the History of England.
6. Are you a draft writer or do you revise as you go along and why? Do you sketch out your plot or do you let the characters develop the route to the end?
I wish I were a plotter!  I tried it once, but I think I sprained something.  It helped in some ways, but I started to get lost in polishing plot details rather than increasing my word count.  So I write and polish as I go along, though the end result is still just a first draft.  Ongoing polishing helps keep my thoughts moving forward, because I’m not mentally tracking details that need to be corrected or changed later.  Of course, that’s not the end of revisions, but the first draft is just clear of obvious flaws.


Wendy S. Marcus said...

I write and polish as I go, too. I can't seem to make myself move forward until I'm happy with what I've written. It takes longer to finish the manuscript, but in the end it's a relatively clean first draft.

Congrats on your debut! Can't wait to read it!

Sandy said...

Tara, first I want to wish you the best of luck of with your first release.

When I first started writing, I revised and revised, but I didn't move on. By writing to the end instead of revising as you go along you keep up the spontaneity. I've done it both ways, and it often depends on what I'm writing if I'm a panster or a planner. lol

Now, for the question of what comes first; the characters or the plot? There have been times I've thought of a great title, and I'll develop a plot around the title and come up with characters. It can be any way you want it to be, Tara.

Janice Seagraves said...

I'm a panster too. I plotted once and found that I had plotted out the heart of the story and couldn't write it.

Good luck with your release and I wish you many sales.


Melissa Keir said...

Best wishes Tara. I do love that the characters always end up with a Happily Ever After!!

Charmaine Gordon said...

I write the way Wendy does, polishing as I go. Good luck and enjoy this first book. There will be many more coming soon, I'm sure.

Tara Andrews said...

Thank you, everyone for all the luck you're throwing my way. Much appreciated!!

I think the panster vs. plotter debate is up there Yankees vs. Mets! LOL. I've even heard plotser. I suppose we all find what works for us and perfect it. I'm still working on the perfecting. ;-)

Tara Andrews said...

Hi Sandy - I do find some inspiration in song titles and lyrics. But I can't tell if that's plotting or more like daydreaming that happens to sparks an idea. LOL.

Tara Andrews said...

Hi Melissa,

Me, too. That's the best thing about romance. :-)

Tara Andrews said...

Hi Wendy,

I feel like that as well. If I feel dissatisfied with what came before, the trail goes cold for me.

Tara Andrews said...

Hi Janice - Exactly! I did try and I can see the benefit, but I found myself completely distracted with plotting. Even spending time picking out special note books, colored index cards and post-its in order to find the right way to organize my thoughts - LOL.

Tara Andrews said...

HI Charmaine - Thank you. Looks like were on the same wave length, too.

Liz said...

Congrats on your release Tara! I write an polish as I go along.

Tara Andrews said...

Thank you, Liz. And congrats on your release, too!

Tara Andrews said...

Janet, Thank you for having me here today! Had fun contemplating panning vs. plotting.

And I hope you all can drop by tomorrow for the opening scene of Long Overdue.

Unknown said...

I'm a plotter because otherwise I wouldn't be able to keep track of where I am. Since I can't write every day (due to this irritating requirement to have a job! lol!) I spend too much time "winging" it as a pantser. However, my outlines are totally flexible so if a character is telling me to stray off course, I listen.

Congrats on the release, Tara!

Tara Andrews said...

Thank you, Liz. And I completely understand about time constraints - I have the same irritating need to be employed!

Gianna Simone said...

Congratulations Tara! Your first release is so exciting. Wishing you many more.

I'm both a plotter and a pantser, the plotter part usually coming in once the pantser has written the first 20-100 pages - it varies, depending on the era/world I'm writing. I have too many details that I simply can't remember and need to keep those things written down, or I'll forget the entire story arc!