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?
That's a good point. The "How" is plot when you think about it. How does the story unfold? How do the characters solve the mystery? How do the hero and heroine fall in love? The plot is how all this unfolds.
1. How do you create your characters? Do you have a specific method?
I need a name before I can create a character. The name defines the person. I've never been able to write Hero or Heroine as a substitute. A guy named Johnny Reb is not going to react the same way as a guy named Matthias de Mille. The name shapes the character.
2. Do your characters come before the plot?
I'd say the characters are the basis for the story. Most of my writing is character-driven.
3. Do you know how the story will end before you begin? In a general way or a specific one?
I don't start writing until I know how the story will end. I'm a plotter who allows the characters to deviate from the plot if needed. I think of myself as a "plotser". I write the blurb for the book first, and a short synopsis. If I can't describe the book in a few sentences, I don't know it well enough to write it. I have tried writing freestyle with no plot in mind. It ends up being a waste of time. I don't accomplish anything worthwhile.
4. Do you choose settings you know or do you have books of settings and plans of houses sitting around?
I have a Pinterest board for two of my main characters that focuses on their surroundings. I have folders of pictures for inspiration. I am usually visually inspired when I write. A picture can spark a writing frenzy.
5. Where do you do your research? Online or from books?
Mostly online. It's so easy to do. I use magazines and books as well, but I am the Google queen. I know how to search the internet.
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 have a well plotted story and write from that. Because I write complex plots with themes such as conspiracies and betrayals, I need to know who does what to whom. That said, nothing stops me from allowing a plot to change if a character dictates a change. I had one story planned meticulously and had planned a minor love affair for one of the characters. It was supposed to be a fling only. But the two fell into love so hard that there was no way I could break them up. I ended up redoing the entire plot sequence. So while I do plan, I also allow for change and growth.