Dramaquill's All Things Writing

August 14, 2011

What comes first – the plot or the characters?

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I wonder if most people’s first reaction when reading the title of this post was, “Duh, the plot of course!”  And hey, maybe they’re right.  But for me, I seem to have much greater success developing new projects if I have a set of characters in mind first.

When writing plays for Slightly off Broadway’s drama department, just knowing whether the actors will be playing hillbillies or wizards sparks all sort of creative flow.  I can’t imagine trying to come up with the story first when the list of possible characters is somewhat endless. 

My inspiration for writing my first suspense novel was actually loosely based on something I had witnessed in the life of someone I knew.  My villain took on the characteristics of a handful of individuals I’d seen in action in disfunctional relationships throughout the years, be it my own or those of my friends and/or family.  My heroine became the culmination of three strong women, all of whom faced horrible circumstances and found a way to survive.  I think the hero is actually someone I wish existed.  I can’t imagine figuring out the plot of my story if I didn’t first get to know these characters.

Currently, I’m working on another suspense novel, and again, the characters prompted me to not only develop the plot but also helped me with the location.  The story morphed relatively easily out of just a few details about the lives of each of the characters.

Now it might sound like I’m saying that it isn’t the plot, but in fact it’s the characters that come first.  In my case, that does seem to be true – at least so far.  But I think this question, much like the “what came first – the chicken or the egg” question has lots of room for debate.

I’d love to have other writers weigh in on their experiences in regard to plot and characters.  Feel free to post to get the discussion going.

August 7, 2011

Great blogs for writers of Suspense

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Well, it’s now August and officially, my holiday time is over.  I vowed that I would not engage in any work-related activities in July, which included checking work email accounts, blogging and, GASP, working on my next two books.

But I had to do it!

My creative side got more than its share of time this past few months.  I wrote three new kids’ plays (and watched them morph into productions), researched and wrote material for both of my new books and did a lot of work marketing myself and my first novel.

I was tapped out creatively.

Now that I’m re-energized and ready to get back on the creative band wagon again, I decided that my first post back would be to share some blog links for those of you who also write (and read) suspense.  It’s always a great idea to check out what other writers blog about, especially those in your genre.

So here goes…

http://vanessa-morgan.blogspot.com/

http://suspensebyanne.blogspot.com/

http://keepmeinsuspense.blogspot.com/

http://www.womenofmystery.net/2011/07/top-suspense-group-blog.html

http://leegoldberg.typepad.com/a_writers_life/top-suspense/

http://harlequinblog.com/2011/05/tips-and-tricks-for-writing-romantic-suspense/

http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/2011/07/10/blog-interview-no-54-with-suspense-author-marla-madison/

http://www.danamarton.com/

http://community.eharlequin.com/content/harlequin-romantic-suspense-author-blog

http://jarekkubicki.wordpress.com/2011/03/02/suspense-magazine/

and finally, here’s a HUGE list of suspense blogs from Networkedblogs.com…

http://www.networkedblogs.com/topic/Suspense/

Enjoy

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