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?
Plot is very important. It’s the engine of a story. If your people don’t have goals or conflict, that makes for very dull reading.
1. How do you create your characters? Do you have a specific method?
Characters usually pop into my head while I’m watching TV, driving, listening to music. I see them interacting with each other, almost like scenes from a movie. From there, I start to think about what they’re doing and why. What motivates them? Pretty soon I have a plot going.
2. Do your characters come before the plot?
Generally speaking, yeah. I might have the germ of a plot in mind – let’s say sexual slavery, which I used for In His Arms, or parental abuse which was part of the plot for Sensual Stranger. With these issues playing in my mind, I started to think of characters and how they’d react to the problems developed in the plot.
3. Do you know how the story will end before you begin? In a general way or a specific one?
Absolutely. I don’t write a word of the manuscript unless I know how it’s going to end. I outline extensively. To me, an outline is like a map. If I wanted to drive from California to New York, I wouldn’t just hop in my car and start driving. I’d route the trip. That way you get to your destination much faster. Same holds true for writing, at least for me.
4. Do you choose settings you know or do you have books of settings and plans of houses sitting around?
My plots have taken place nearly everywhere. I look up everything online. It’s so easy and fast. If I need an expensive house in let’s say Las Vegas, I simply go to realtor sites. If I need something overseas, I Google it.
5. Where do you do your research? On line or from books?
Online. So easy. Fast. Free!
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 revise as I go along. However, I do about four drafts (rewrites) before I submit.
I let the characters develop the plot while I’m outlining. Once I’m actually writing the manuscript, I follow the outline. By then, I know the characters intimately and not much is changed.