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?
The six elements of fiction build the plot and interweave to create the storyline. It is the vehicle to transport the characters from point A to point B through a pattern of what, when, where, and why so that they eventually wind up at the end of the story with a plausible and pleasing ending.
1. How do you create your characters? Do you have a specific method?
I write character charts with goals, motivations, and conflicts for each primary character. I also write down their physical characteristics, likes, dislikes, and everything else about them to keep everybody straight throughout the story.
2. Do your characters come before the plot?
Usually but not always. In my July release, Cooking Up A Storm, I knew the characters would be competing chefs. Many of the other plot points came later as I wrote the story.
3. Do you know how the story will end before you begin? In a general way or a specific one?
Almost always. I’ve written more than 70 books, so there have been a few where the precise ending eluded me for awhile. Spooky Sojourn, my upcoming October 23rd release, is one of those.
4. Do you choose settings you know or do you have books of settings and plans of houses sitting around?
Most of the time I choose settings I know very well. Since I’ve lived in South Florida for twenty five years and it’s considered a romantic vacation destination, I set a lot of my stories here. Recently, I set a story in San Francisco where I honeymooned . At the moment, however, my wip is set in Seattle and I’ve never been there.
5. Where do you do your research? On line or from books?
Mainly online from pictures and descriptions. I visit many of the city’s official sites as well as many informal blogs to get information.
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?
Recently I’ve been revising as I go along—to break writer’s block. Usually I have several scenes and most of the characters mapped out in my head before I start writing the story, but I’ll admit more also develop as I write.