Friday, June 13, 2014

Friday's How She Does It featuring Allie Quinn

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?

Interesting question. I guess I never considered the plot to the be sixth element, although it does make sense. I see the plot as being a combination of the other five, and yet for me and writing my stories, the order in which you have them--who, what, when, where, why and how are usually the order in which my story plugs along. I generally take a character, have something happen to him/her, add in the when and where setting which usually works against the character. Then I try to wrap things up with the why and how. 

When I began writing IN THE DEAD OF COLD, which was released by Loose Id February, 2014, I first thought of the character--Jane and asked the question: What if she was plain Jane, but had extraordinary gifts, then what if I tossed her into the most frightening place and isolated her and created a hero who scared the wits out of her even though she couldn't live without him? And that was how it unfolded.
1.      How do you create your characters? Do you have a specific method?

My characters are developed by what the story needs. As I think of the action I want to take place, I consider which would work best (or not). Is the situation one that calls for a damsel in distress or a kick-ass heroine ready to change the world. At the same time, the character has to fit the part. Then I start asking what flaws should the characters have. Flaws make them more likeable and believable. For me, characters talk to me. I let them talk, put them into a given situation and see where they take it. If I want to write a stalker story, then I need a character who is being stalked. Every person would react differently if she thought she was being stalked. I ask myself how I want her to react and create her from there. As I do so, I develop the stalker and the story comes together like working a puzzle from the inside to the edge.
2. Do your characters come before the plot? 

Yes, about half the time. In UNDER THE COVER OF MOONLIGHT released by Loose Id June 10, 2014, I had introduced Zack McCullin, the hero, in the previous novel IN THE DEAD OF COLD. He didn't get much novel time at all in the first, and yet I felt the need to let him out and tell his story. As I looked at his character and thought about him working computer security, I simply asked asked myself, how would he react if someone stole a computer program that was important to him? Then how would he react when he discovered that thief was his soul mate?
3. Do you know how the story will end before you begin? In a general way or a specific one?

I know it will have a happy ending. I generally see the ending before I get half-way through. I continuously play the what if game as I go along, which may or may not change any ending I see at the beginning. It is much easier for me to see a beginning of a story than the end. I'm much better, however, at seeing the big picture and then going back and adding sub-plots and details and emotion.
4. Do you choose settings you know or do you have books of settings and plans of houses sitting around?

I make up fictional towns, but I put them in places I've been.  For my Moonlight Assassins series, it's set in a fictional town in Colorado simply because I liked the mountains when I saw them. I also needed a place that would be isolated if necessary. I've been known to choose islands for the same reason. I can't get the setting wrong if it's fictional.
5. Where do you do your research? On line or from books?

Both. I can usually see a story in a photograph.
 Also if I visit a place or a historic house, I might research that place then develop a story around a single tidbit of information I learned. There is a house in a nearby town that I learned was once a sanitarium for TB patients and that there were still holes cut in the bedroom doors for medications to be distributed. I wrote a haunted house story using that house.
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 try to revise as I go along. I hate to waste time. But most of the time the way I write is I get the just of the story down. Then I go through again, and ADD. Usually emotion is needed. Emotion deepens my characters. The third time I go through it, I try to remove unnecessary words, such as those ending in ly. I let the characters develop the route to the end. A single small reaction by a character can change the entire direction of the story. I just have be careful not to let the characters take over!

writing as Allie Quinn

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