We have another great group of writers here to discuss ‘Character versus Plot’
Please welcome our guests.
Terry W. Ervin II is an English and Science teacher who enjoys writing. He’s an editor for the speculative fiction magazine MindFlights and his short stories have appeared in over a dozen anthologies, magazines and ezines. The genres range from science fiction and fantasy to horror and inspirational.
In 2009 Gryphonwood Press published Terry’s debut fantasy novel FLANK HAWK, and released BLOOD SWORD in 2011. He is busy working on the third novel in the First Civilization’s Legacy series. Website, Blog
Pembroke Sinclair - I write fiction under the pen name Pembroke Sinclair, and I have had several short stories published. My story, “Sohei,” was named one of the Best Stories of 2008 by The Cynic Online Magazine. I have novellas and a short story collection forthcoming from Musa Publishing and eTreasures Publishing. I have two novels, Coming from Nowhere (adult, sci fi) and Life After the Undead (YA, horror), that are available from eTreasures Publishing, as well as Death to the Undead (YA, sequel to Life After the Undead), which is forthcoming. Under my real name, Jessica Robinson, from March 2008 to January 2011, I wrote scientific articles for Western Farmer-Stockman. I have a nonfiction book, Life Lessons from Slasher Films, scheduled for release in July 2012 from Scarecrow Publishing (an imprint of Rowan and Littlefield). Blog, Link, Link
Catrina Barton is a reader and writer of YA and Paranormal Romance, who enjoys being surrounded by the stark beauty of mother nature - whether it's a moon lit starry sky, or a picnic by a peaceful waterfall cascading from the mountain side. She is a proud member of Nano, RBRU, SheWrites and PNRWriters. She is an active participant at Critique Circle and several other crit groups. Blog, Facebook
Carole Ann Moleti is a nurse-midwife in New York City, thus explaining her fascination with all things paranormal, urban fantasy, and space opera. Her newest fiction is featured in Haunted: Ten Tales of Ghosts and Bites: Ten Tales of Vampires.Website, Blog, Twitter
Now the question is: What comes first, the character or the plot?
Terry W. Ervin II: Generally what comes first is an event or situation, whether it’s wondering what happens to a soul trapped in a cryogenically frozen body, or a team of drug dogs searching a high school and finding drugs in a student’s locker—but they’re not that student’s drugs. The initial thought that sparked my first published novel occurred while thinking about two books: Roger Zelazny’s Guns of Avalon and Harry Turtledove’s World War: In the Balance. A main turning point in Guns of Avalon occurs when Prince Corwin discovers a way to get gunpowder to function in the magical city of Amber. In the Balance is about an alien invasion during the World War II. The technological disparity between the invaders and humanity is a major element in the novel’s conflict. That sparked the question: What would happen if a dragon encountered a World War II aircraft? From there I devised a world where such an encounter could take place. Then came the people and creatures that would inhabit the world and how it came to be. Finally, came Krish and Lilly, Roos and Road Toad—the novel’s main characters.
Pembroke Sinclair: Depends on the story. And then it can change once I get writing. Sometimes, characters like to take the story over and lead me in different directions. I like it when that happens. Sometimes, the plot twists itself. That's fun too.
Catrina Barton: It depends on the story. Most times it's the main character and their love interest. I try imagining them in different situations and places. But occasionally it's the plot that will jump out at me and refuse to be ignored. I start with whichever is the most persistent.
Carole Ann Moleti: Usually the kernel of a plot occurs to me first, but I usually know right away the sex, age and situation of the main characters. Once I flesh out the characters (I spend a lot of time developing their profiles, including doing astrological charts and Tarot spreads), the plot points and twists fall into place.
Thank you all for joining us today and sharing your techniques.
Readers feel free to ask questions concerning this topic in the comments. Also feel free to send questions to email@example.com Subject: Voices of Fiction Question, and have them answered by the participating authors in later editions.
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(Disclaimer - Bios and answers have been posted as submitted by author)