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 guess I'm unconventional. Because when I write, I always start with who, then where, what, why and how. I believe it aids in the flow when I'm creating the story. However when we turn the tables and look at it from an audience standpoint. The characters at the very least must interesting if not compelling. If they are, we as readers want to find out more about what they are doing and why they are doing it. Then, the whens, wheres and hows add efficacy of the plot. In other words, they provide believability, without which the reader would become frustrated and not finish the book.
1. How do you create your characters? Do you have a specific method?I start with an image of a type of man or woman I'd like to write about. Then, I try to discover their personalities, quirks, likes, dislikes, where do they live, what do they do for a living, how do they dress etc...2. Do your characters come before the plot?Most definitely!3. Do you know how the story will end before you begin? In a general way or a specific one?Yes, I have to know where I'm going. I always no the end. I just have no idea how I'm going to get there.4. Do you choose settings you know or do you have books of settings and plans of houses sitting around?Both. Most of it is for inspiration. Some of it is for guidance. I mix it up between what I know and don't know. If I don't know it, then I do a ton of research.5. Where do you do your research? On line or from books?I do most of my research on line. Though for the Cold Warriors series, I ordered a ton of books on arctic expeditions during the golden age of exploration.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 am a draft writer. Draft 1 to 101 if need be. That's why it takes me so long! I tried sketching out my plot and every single time, I abandon it. So I let the characters, the dramatic tension or the general development of the story be my guide.