Actually, I don’t outline. But I am asking myself some basic questions, which lead to answers that require more questions, and so on. Ask and answer enough of those and you’re bound to make progress. Maybe later I’ll post some of the questions I’m currently asking myself, though honestly, I don’t know how helpful that will be. Books are like people: individual, stubborn, occasionally cranky and hard to deal with, but also fun to be around. Figuring out the story of each one will require a different set of questions, a unique set of resonance points for the author. And by resonance points, I mean that some questions will resonate and inspire better than others.
Welcome to the mother lode, my friends. PBW has organized all her Q&A sessions into one magical place that I promise will provide hours of information that you, as writer or reader, will find incredibly useful. PBW (otherwise known as Lynn Viehl) is an incredible writer, and extremely generous with her time and knowledge. Take advantage of it.
Also, a great blog post on the Edicott Studio site, containing some little interview snippets with Alice Hoffman, Charles De Lint, and Joanne Harris (and links to more and more):
Kim to Alice Hoffman: Like many fairy tales, your stories often begin with catastrophe. Terrible things happen to your characters and to the people around them. Is it difficult to be a witness to these tragedies, as the writer? Is this emotionally draining for you as you are writing it? Or is it cathartic? Or neither?
Alice: It’s cathartic to take straw and make it into gold, or as close to gold as you can get it. Also to transfigure reality and expand it. Terrible things happen in all fairy tales—why not? They are the most honest of all literature.
Finally, Petula—Book Cat!