Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Voices of Fiction - Character versus Plot - Part Three

Welcome to another edition of Voices of Fiction.

We have another great group of writers here to discuss ‘Character versus Plot.’

Please welcome our guests.

Dr Bob Rich has retired 3 times so far, has 4 to go. Two ongoing ones are writer and editor. He is also a professional grandfather, with hundreds of grandkids. Read the evidence. Bob doesn't believe in genres. All writing is about the human condition, even if those humans happen to have 3 arms and 3 legs, and green skin (the heroes of Liberator, the lead story of Bizarre Bipeds, the latest of his 14 published books. Website, Link, Link

Cara Marsi, an award-nominated author, is a former corporate drone and cubicle dweller who is finally free of her fabric-covered cage. She craves books with happy endings and loves to write about independent heroines and the strong heroes who love them. Cara is published in romantic suspense, paranormal romance, and contemporary romance. She’s also published numerous short romance stories in national women’s magazines. Cara and her husband enjoy traveling and she loves to write about the places they've visited. They share their house with a fat black diva of a cat named Killer. Website, Twitter, Facebook

Reno Charlton - I'm a full time copywriter, working from home to provide clients around the world with content for websites, magazines and other media. I am also an author, having written and published three children's fantasy novels and two short stories for older readers. The short stories were created under my pen name of Emily Ho. One of these stories, The Journey Home, won a Curtis Brown Short Story Competition. Link, Link, Link

Children’s Picture Book author, Clara Bowman-Jahn, of “Annie’s Special Day” is living the life of her dreams an hour at a time. Link, Blog, Link

Ellen Spain is a retired Federal Investigator, now turned author, editor, and educator. She is active with EPIC, PennWriters, RWA, SCBWI, and the Pittsburgh East Writers. Website, Link, Link

Welcome Authors! It’s wonderful to have you back for another round.

Now the question is: What comes first, the character or the plot?

Bob Rich: For me, neither. It is usually a scene. I carried the concept of my series The Stories of the Ehvelen in my head for 20 years, for much of which I didn’t feel competent to write fiction. It’s a group of hunter-gatherer teenagers on the hunt that’ll qualify them for adulthood, attacked by a patrol of nomads who kill the boys and abduct the girls. This is the essence of what’s wrong with humanity: why we are now at risk of destroying our life support system. My current project: a blind gentleman was referred to me for therapy after being attacked by teenagers. I couldn’t work with him if I shared his emotions, so I displaced my outrage into a different scene. An old lady witnesses 6 kids and the crossing supervisor killed by a hit-and-run driver. The characters then come from the scene, and THEY decide what happens in the story.

Cara Marsi: Sometimes the character and sometimes the plot. It all depends on the story. I'm writing a sequel to my first RS, "Logan's Redemption." It this case I had the characters from the original. Then I had to figure a plot. I'm a short story writer too. My short stories are always plots I've had in my head for years. I just need to come up with characters to fit the stories.

Reno Charlton: For me, it is usually the plot that comes first for a new book and then I am able to work out what sorts of character would fit well into that particular storyline. Sometimes, the plot does change if I come up with a character that would warrant a change in direction, but this would only be a small change in most cases.

Clara Bowman-Jahn: In my published book of "Annie's Special Day" the plot came first. I knew what I wanted to say before I had a character. Then after I knew how I wanted to say what I had to say I formed my character. I knew who she was after I had her say my story. When one of the illustrators who worked on my book wanted a list of characteristics I made a list. Before that she was just a figment of my imagination. Annie the character in the book I just wrote became more of a person from the list. . Since it is a children's book the illustrator, Claudia Wolf, worked her magic and drew Annie from what I had told her. In my present WIP the character comes first and then the plot, so your question is a variable one for me.

Ellen Spain: I think first about the story line and then create the characters to fit the plot. Danny was finally created as a whole person by the artist who created the beautiful book cover.

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 chergreen@chergreen.com Subject: Voices of Fiction Question, and have them answered by the participating authors in later editions.

There’s also room for more authors to participate. Drop me an email, Subject: Voices of Fiction.

(Disclaimer - Bios and answers have been posted as submitted by author) 

Part Four
Part One
Part Two


Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Fascinating answers, everybody. You're all a credit to the profession.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for featuring me in this post, Cher. It has been an honor.

So interesting to see what the other authors had to say. I never get tired of hearing others tell their writing process.

Cara Marsi said...

Thank you for this opportunity, Cher.

Cher Green said...

Ladies, Thank you all for stopping by and commenting. It's been wonderful hearing about all of the authors' processes.

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