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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Thursday Spotlight: Jane Toombs

5 W’s And An H


I’m often asked how I write. So I finally dreamed up a short answer. I use the who, what. when, why, where and how method of creating.

Who are the two main characters. Three if there’s a villain.
What do each of them want? Plus the way this will impact the story.
When is the time period of the story.
Why is the reason for what the main characters want.
Where is the physical location of what’s happening.
How is the resulting story.

I’m a plotter, so I do an overall synopsis for the entire book or series. I may deviate from this synopsis as I go along, but usually not radically. This gives me an overall plan, so I don’t wander off into the woods and get lost.

And, yes I might. I pantstered my first two sales back in 1943, and 1944, but got so far off track with the third that my agent couldn’t peddle it anywhere.

He was the one who, though inadvertently, rescued me by asking me to do a synopsis and three chapters for a publisher doing a gothic Zodiac series. After he explained what a synopsis was (I had no clue) I did it and got the contract. I found it amazingly easy to write the book more or less following the synopsis. I never wrote another without one. Even did a synopsis for that third book, revised it drastically and it sold. I’ve never looked back.

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