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 totally agree! A plot is shaped by who (characters), what (crisis/romance), when (time/era/epoch/epic), where (setting), why (drive/background/desires/hopes/dreams), and how (how do all of the pieces fit together to create a story the reader will actually want to read). Without the six elements of fiction to shape your story, you’d end up with the drive thru menu of a fast food restaurant.
How do you create your characters? Do you have a specific method?
My characters create themselves. I’ll hear a voice in my head, and after some time of reflection, the character begins to come into view. Sometimes, it will take several chapters for their whole character to develop, but most of the time, I have their physical and emotional attributes solidified before I even begin to write. It’s their backgrounds and history that develops with the story.
Do your characters come before the plot?
Sometimes. There are times when I dream a plot, and then wake up the next day to write it down. Those times, I have no idea who the characters will be, but they begin to develop when I sit down with my OneNote note book open and scribble the info down as it flashes through my mind. That’s what I did with the time-travel pirate series I’ll be working on. I dreamt about a pirate, and when I woke up the next day, I fleshed the idea for the story and the series out on paper.
Do you know how the story will end before you begin? In a general way or a specific one?
Not at all. With THE DIVA AND THE DUKE, all I knew were the H/H characters, the plot device, and a few of the random pieces of story. The ending didn’t come to me until I’d reached the midpoint of the story. This is the first book in the series, and I still have no idea how the other two books will end.
Do you choose settings you know or do you have books of settings and plans of houses sitting around?
I write whatever the Muse wants. I’ve never left the country, but THE DIVA AND THE DUKE takes place in Philly, and in the English countryside in 1817! If I don’t already know information about the location, I will do the necessary research to make sure the story is historically, and factually accurate.
Where do you do your research? On line or from books?
Both. I dedicate an entire browser folder to the links for research on my current WIP, but I also have a growing library of paper books I hide away in my bedroom—far away from my small children and toothy White German Shepherd Dog.
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, but I usually write large chunks at a time. I use Scrivener writing software, which allows me to write whichever scene comes to mind, and then I can go back through each separate scene and revise if needed. I sketch out all the initial information, general physical attributes and such, but I have to sit down and literally let the characters speak to me so I learn their background stories, their dreams, what drives them, and even if they like North Carolina BBQ.