Tag Archives: plotting

The Adam & Eve Approach to Character Development

“The Creation of Eve” by Paolo Caliari (1528-1588)

About a month ago I’d been asked the following question in an interview. “When you decided to develop a hero and a heroine, how does that process come about? Do you do the character sketch? Do you use real world influences?”

Sometimes I get an idea for a character and then create a story around them. Sometimes I get an idea for a story and then create a character to fit the story.

In Captive (book #1 in the Survival Race series) I had a story idea first and then created the characters to fit the story. The plot required a tortured alpha male whose humanity is stripped away. I created Max–the poor hero believes he’s nothing more than a beast–to fill this role. Then I had to figure out what kind of heroine could make him see he’s not a beast. He’s a good man worthy of love. So I created a strong, spirited heroine who could inspire Max.

The hero of Fearless (Survival Race #2) was introduced in Captive. His character was already partially formed so I needed to create a story around him. As I brainstormed the plot, I also brainstormed the kind of heroine he required. Since he wants revenge, he needed a heroine who could tame his lust for war and bring peace into his heart. His heroine was created especially for him, and new to the series. This couple was exciting to write about. The warlord and the spiritual healer have opposing goals, but we all know what happens to opposites, right? Sexual tension! The heat level is a bit steamier in Fearless than Captive.

While plotting Survival Race #3, I realized once again that I have a hero and a partial plot but no heroine. I actually went through three different heroines trying to figure out who would work best! The first two weren’t getting the job done. They were already established characters, but were not right for what the hero needed or what the plot needed…or, quite frankly, what I needed. Those heroines weren’t getting me excited to write the story. After much cogitating, I came up with a new character. This kick-butt alpha heroine is exactly what the hero needs, and boy is she going to be fun and exciting to write about. I can’t wait to see their tension ignite the page.

So what have I learned about my character development process? Apparently I take the Adam and Eve approach. I create the man first and then from the man create the perfect woman for him.

No matter how the character is born, I always do a character sketch to get to know each one better. A character sketch answers questions like what do they look like, what is their history, what are their fears/ likes/ dislikes, etc…  I’ve also taken bits and pieces from real world influences, but don’t tell my family or friends that. 😉

Readers – have you ever read about characters that were perfect for each other? Have you ever read about characters that weren’t and wondered why the author forced them together? Writers – What’s your process to character development? Do you do the character sketch? Do you use real world influences? Please leave your answers in the comments section.

~K.M. Fawcett

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Writing by the Sea

This weekend I got to have another cool adventure. No there wasn’t a really awesome toilet with a remote control and heated seat, but an awesome time was had without it. This weekend I got together at the beach for writers retreat with friends. It was nice to get away, enjoy the beautiful weather, and focus on our manuscripts.

With all of the responsibilities and distractions of day to day life it’s nice to have some time to recharge the creative batteries with other writers. Conferences are a terrific way to do this, but conferences can be exhausting. However, this weekend Kiersten Krum, Caridad Pineiro, Nisha Sharma gave each other a creative boost in a relaxing environment.   It was a lovely change of pace.  Who else could you lounge around having  conversations about demons eating entrails and ways to increase the gore factor without getting looked at as though you were insane? We also had some great brainstorming sessions It’s fun playing what if with other creative people and seeing what kind of story ideas come up. I know I got some nice feedback which helped me plug some holes in my plot for the third story in my series. I appreciated getting the prospective of people who weren’t as familiar with my stories they can come up with something better then you’d come up with alone or that wouldn’t have even occurred to you. In between writing sessions we took breaks to walk along the boardwalk, to get dinner at a wonderful Cuban restaurant in Asbury Park, and stop for dessert.

It was a wonderful weekend with great friends. We critiqued, we laughed, we got all manner of writing /writing related projects accomplished. Thanks for a lovely weekend, ladies!  I had a great time.

~Rayna

To Plot or Not to Plot

If you’re involved in the writing world to any extent, I’m sure you’ve heard the question ‘Are you a panster or a plotter?’. I am without a doubt a plotter. I’m more certain of that now then ever. I used to think I sat somewhere in the center. I’d come up with a rough idea and try and work my way through. Inevitably I’d stall and waste vast amounts of time rewriting and changing what I’d already written in the hopes of finding the story path again. However, in recent stories, I’ve been working out more detailed story outlines which has made the writing of the story so much smoother. I need the road map, I need to pre-plan each step of the journey my characters go on. Having that guide keeps me from spinning my wheels. In a recent post I wrote how I am working on a story with a partner. The good news is we just finished the story. In fact, we’re just about to send it out to beta readers before we start submitting it. I firmly believe that without a solid outline we’d still be muddling through. Yes, we varied as the story progressed, but with two people writing we didn’t have the luxury of pantsing our way through. We each needed to be able to pick up where the other left off and know where to go next. It really streamed lined the process and in the end gave us a great bare bones synopsis.
I realize, however, that within each of these categories of writers I know there are degrees. Some people get an idea and reveal in the thrill of discovery as they write. Some create a loose series of plot points and then meander their way along. Others plot the story to within an inch of it’s life. They use collages, story boards, colored note cards, etc.

So I ask, are you a plotter? If so, to what techniques do you use to plot. If you don’t plot what is your method of writing?